Nurture Technique: What Can You Do For Your Network?

Neturru, a golden dragon representing the LINC communication process Step #3: Nurture

I’ve facilitated hundreds of visionary entrepreneurs in strategic marketing sessions throughout the 14 years I’ve owned Videan Unlimited. Over this time, I noticed certain solid ideas showing up over and over. One of those concepts is, simply, to help others.

Well, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and since I have it in my consciousness, I’ve been noticing how often thought leaders in our world bring this up, too. So, I thought I’d share some examples (and ideas you can use to build your own win-win relationships). I’ll provide three sections:

• Brains on Fire explaining how to ignite word-of-mouth by treating folk like rock stars

• Chris Brogan’s 9 Touchpoints of Loyalty list

• Ann Videan’s list of 11 Questions to Ask Your Network

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I can’t say this any better than they do, so I’ll just quote from the Brains on Fire word-of-mouth agency’s Lessons Learned in Igniting Word-of-Mouth Movements manifesto:

“#9. Movements make advocates feel like rock stars.

“We’re not talking about champagne wishes and caviar dreams or private jets and penthouse suites. Yes, those things are nice. But you’re not going to have a movement if you try to “reward” people with sweepstakes and contests. That’s part of a campaign. And that’s never going to make people feel appreciated. Instead, reward people with recognition. And don’t just shine a light on the overachievers. Love on the ones that hardly have any time to give to the movement, but give anyway. Listen to the haters. Listen to the lovers. Listen. And then engage. Again, it’s not about giving people SWAG or money or any of those material things. When you make someone feel like a rockstar, You—the brand—are becoming a fan of theirs. We hear about all these companies out there that want to find or create fans of their brand. We’re here to tell you that it should be the other way around. Don’t find people to lift you up—you need to lift them up first. As Greg Cordell, one of the principals at Brains on Fire likes to say, “Be famous for the people who love you, for the way you love them.” Love and recognition is a circular transaction—if you give it out, it’ll always come back to you.”

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And, here’s a savvy Touchpoints of Loyalty list from Chris Brogan, blogger, and president of New Marketing Labs. Again, I quote:

“9 Simple Touchpoints of Loyalty

“1. Comment on other people’s blogs as often as you can.

“2. Reply to people or help them spread the word on Twitter and/or Facebook.

“3. Write posts filled with admiration for people you enjoy online, and send links to their work.

“4. Connect people with like-minded people before they ask (using LinkedIn or similar).

“5. Wish people a happy birthday, or luck with their test, or other related-to-them encouragement.

“6. Share job opportunities. You never know who’s looking for more when you’re drowning in too much.

“7. Invite people to coffee. Just 20 minutes might really change someone’s day, week, month.

“8. Write recommendations on LinkedIn to those whose work you can vouch for. Do it before they ask.

“9. Send 10 emails a day to people you’re in danger of falling out of touch with, and make them simple and request-free. [I’d use Facebook posts.]“

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I, myself, am a firm believer in asking customers/constituents what they need so you can act upon what they say. It’s a fundamental of marketing, but it’s surprising to me how many people ignore it. Luckily, this kind of marketing work can be very easy. Let me give you a few starting points with. . .

11 Questions to Ask Your Network
by Ann N. Videan, APR, Videan Unlimited marketing connections

1. Ask an associate what the perfect job/customer looks like. When you run across that kind of lead, pass it along.

2.  Ask a media contact what kind of stories they write about. Find a story that will be helpful to them, and share it. Especially, if the story has nothing to do with you or any of your clients .

3. Take an associate to lunch and ask what their biggest questions are concerning your area of expertise. See if you can’t just give them some pointers right there on the spot. You never know where this might lead.

4. Ask how your supporters like to be rewarded. Is it recognition as Brains on Fire says? Maybe it’s chocolate to some people. Find out.

5. Ask customers if you could write a testimonial for them. Be sure to clarify if there are specific aspects of your work together they’d like you to focus on.

6. Ask trusted associates to serve on your advisory board. Treat them to a meal. Listen. Act on any good recommendations.

7. Ask experts to contribute to your blog, Web site, article or other marketing piece, and give them credit.

8. Ask customers their stories, and share them whenever you can. Almost every business has an interesting owner or employee, building history, product story, or evolution tale. People love stories!

9. Ask associates if there is anything you can provide from your area of expertise to help them secure a customer.

10. Ask an associate if you can share an idea you just had for developing joint business together.

11. Ask if you may introduce a customer, friend or client to an associate to help widen their network.

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All of this is really just kindness at work. Not hard to do, folks. It’s just that Golden Rule thing. Besides, asking questions gets the conversation flowing, which always leads to something interesting. I challenge you to try at least one of the ideas from this blog this week and report back what happens. Can’t wait to hear!

- Ann N. Videan, APR, Owner/Business-Tribe Architect, Videan Unlimited, LLC

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