I have tweeted before about the “power” of Twitter when it comes to connecting people and—although it seems simple enough—the real power comes from turning those contacts into colleagues. Recently I had the pleasure of attending a fundraiser for non-profit “Second Mile” in Hershey, PA where the keynote speaker was FORD CEO, Mr. Alan Mulally. The invitation came from friend and colleague, Anne D. Gallaher (@AnneDGallaher on Twitter) who owns her own marketing/pr/design firm in Harrisburg, PA. I met Anne on Twitter and have now met with her face to face on three separate occasions—all of which have resulted in multiple business related opportunities and collaborative sharing of information and ideas. Through Anne, I have now met a number of others, further expanding my “Twitter network” of great contacts. A few that you should follow on Twitter are: @ProfS @marketingbyDM @MarisaCorser @RunOnEnergy @piersoncci @RichardEJordan2—all of whom I met at the Ford event!
Glen Gilmore (@TrendTracker on Twitter) is another example of someone I met on Twitter who is now my “go to” for social media consulting for my clients, keynote speaker needs and a trusted confidant. By May, Glen will have been to Memphis three times , and I have been to Philly now twice. We are, through real relationships, monetizing social media both for our clients and for ourselves individually. That monetization—although a result of efforts—should not be where our focus or motivations are. The real power of Twitter, in my opinion, is in the active building and expanding of personal relationships that can then lead to engagements later.
I founded my business on a core value that has served us well and I believe is directly related to all the talk about social media ROI. That value is simple: Do the right thing for your client/customer every single day. Often that means putting your clients’ needs in front of personal interests. It sometimes means saying ‘no‘ to new business. It sometimes means giving a client a lower fee. It means dropping everything on a weekend or night to help a client with a crisis or problem.
I believe if you focus on your client (not the money) and take care of them, the rest will take care of itself. I think that’s true of social media networking too. If your focus and/or motivation is on churning a quick buck or two, you are missing it. The focus should be on building and nurturing relationships that can lead to real engagements (and plenty has been written here on this). During Mr. Mulally’s speech last week, he talked about the importance of “doing the right thing” every day. Inspiring to me! He also said that “social media is absolutely the way of the future.” Encouraging to me! (Glen Gilmore wrote an excellent blog post about this event!! )
After hearing Mr. Mulally, it is clear that Ford is winning by doing the right things. They are setting a great example as a company that is working to be honest, accessible and transparent through social media. What is refreshing to me about Mr. Mulally is his openness, honesty, integrity and pure “down to earth” approach. He was not in a hurry to leave. He did not make anyone “pre-screen” any questions. When someone’s cell phone rang during his speech, he quickly said, “Go ahead, take the order” underscoring that sales are important but more aptly, putting the recipient of the call at ease and making us all laugh. What a gentleman! We need more corporate executives in the C-suite just like Mulally.
Oh, and did I mention we had a big snowstorm?