Ted Rubin’s mantra is for businesses to connect with their audiences on a personal level. Rubin, the acting CMO of Brand Innovators, social marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and brand evangelist spoke to Business Circle recently at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016 and gave pointers on how to form those personal relationships.

You can make those natural connections even when attending a large event, he said.

“We come to an event like South by Southwest or Brand Innovators Summit, we meet 100 people, and we say, ‘how can I connect with each of them?’ But actually, you can. The important thing is making that initial connection with a personal message. That personal message doesn’t have to be completely individualized for each person, but it’s something showing that you met them at Brand Innovators, or at South by Southwest, and for them to feel free to reach out to you. What happens is that out of those 100 or so, ten might write back to you. But they share the fact that when they wrote back to you, you connected back with them.”

That’s what brand is all about, he said. “I like to say that a brand is what you do; a reputation is what people remember and share. And you build that reputation by actually engaging and connecting with people.”

Whether you’re a small business or a Fortune 500 company, you’d probably like to connect on a personal level with all of your Facebook® friends or Twitter® followers. But how do you accomplish that when you have 1 million followers on social media?

“The truth of the matter is a very small percentage of those people actually want to engage and communicate with you,” Rubin said. “The rest of them are lurking out there, seeing it happening, and feeling a part of that conversation by watching your conversation.”

Rubin drew an analogy between social media and a party. “Everybody’s been to a cocktail party. You’ve got a few hundred people in a room. What happens in that room? There are pockets of people around the room. There are usually only five people speaking, but each of them is surrounded by anywhere from 5-20 people. Out of that, maybe one or two people are actually engaging with them. But everybody who listens to that conversation walks away feeling a part of it. This is what’s happening on social media, at scale.”

His final advice for making a personal connection? Read Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People.”

“It’s more relevant today than it was when it was written in 1937, when maybe you’d meet 100 people in your lifetime. Now you meet 100 people in a couple of seconds. And if you call them by name, they feel that connection. Because there is no word in any language that’s more beautiful than the sound of their own name.”

Originally posted at AT&T Small BusinessATTsmallbiz

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