Stare at a wall of similar products with your phone in your hand, and you’ll quickly rule out a big chunk based on product reviews. Once you land on a few similarly well-reviewed products, something as simple as a well-placed tweet or a brief, positive interaction with a person in a company can break the tie. Today, word of mouth between people happens in an instant, so train your people to look for those micro moments as they arise on social channels. The key to making the best of micro-moments is Looking People in the Eye Digitally.

Research Your Information Seekers

Showing up in the right place ultimately means anticipating where people will be looking. The good news is that your own research habits will help show you the way. When you’re looking for specific information in a quick time-frame, where do you turn? Do you go to reviews, open an online chat or ask a question on the company Twitter or Facebook account? Everyone is different, but there are a few tactics that will appeal to every information seeker.

This is so easy, if you empower your employees… AND such a missed opportunity for the vast majority. For example: I am at a Hilton Hotels property this week enjoying some down time, having some fun with my business partner John Andrews, and creating property related content with daily opportunities for Hilton to engage, even asking them questions… and all we have experienced is silence. Just check my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds December 18-21.

It’s This Easy

Just Be Nice: Predicting which moment will ultimately make the difference is a tough game with an easy solution. When in doubt, just be nice to everyone. Plenty of great relationships—business and personal—start with a kind word or gesture. Not everyone will respond in kind, but you can make a positive impression on observers by handling difficult people with grace.

Be Human: This is a big one for building relationships. People are weary of automation, especially in response to queries. Take the time to interact on a personal, one-on-one level, no matter where the conversation is taking place. It shouldn’t look canned or formulaic.

Personalize It: Really, all of these tips focus on personalization in some way. In this case, I mean taking the time to learn about the person or people with whom you’ll be interacting. Social media is a gold mine for conversation starters and common interests. If you can tie it in with a recent social post the person made, all the better.

Embrace the Community: Since we’re talking about micro moments, it’s important to cast a wide net. Public interactions have an indefinite lifespan online, so a positive interaction keeps working in your favor long after the initial conversation has ended. Involve yourself in the broader community of any channel you use to connect or promote. Being helpful and human there can leave a trail of positive evidence for anyone who wants to learn what you’re about.

Be Timely: Whether you’re just riffing on social or writing a long, thoughtful blog post, making connections means choosing relevant topics. There’s little benefit to stirring up overly-controversial topics for a brand, but otherwise staying on top of the latest trends is a great way to spur interaction. Over time, it also shows your consistent engagement on the topics that matter to you.

Whether you’re selling a product, helping with customer service or managing a community, the biggest thing to remember is that any moment can be the one that makes a difference for someone. Plenty of real-world relationships start with a simple gesture—holding the door for someone, or offering a hello and a smile. The same basic idea applies online. When you’re friendly, engaged, and personal in your interactions, you’re always ready to tackle the next micro moment. And who knows? It might be an opportunity that makes someone’s day.

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