Recognise Emotional Connection As A Business Strategy
Having an emotional connection with others offers a world of possibilities far removed from cold calling and pestering.
When you’ve established a relationship, you already have permission to ask. The mistake so many people and businesses commit is making the ask without having built the rapport which results in getting nothing back. When there is interaction, engagement and a relationship in place, everything else can follow.
This article looks at the business case for making an emotional connection. It’s more than an act of kindness, it has the capacity to be something strategic and yet its effect is persistently undervalued.
Let’s Set The Scene
Let’s get straight to the heart of it, here is how you can make a connection where someone can see that you genuinely care and it becomes the basis for a closer association. This is based on how the You Are The Media community has grown over the years and how we all come together.
1 — You develop the learning for others, so at some point the return comes back to you
2 — You show people in an under-served space how things work, creating a niche that is far removed from the masses (if you want to read more on this I suggest Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail)
3 — You courteously remind people that you are there for them, helping them achieve their wider goals
Doing It Your Own Way Makes Such a Difference
Connections are made when you stop leading with the hard facts and find a way to get information across in a more captivating way, creating a distinct identity in the process. The end result is that this way of connection becomes your competitive advantage.
This could be for instance, writing an article that delves deep into your own experience linking to a wider industry topic. Have a read here on how to get your first loyal email subscribers. This is me explaining from my own experiments over the years why people subscribed to the Thursday YATM email.
This is far better than an article that reads the same as everyone else on getting more subscribers ie. give something away, pop-ups and lead magnets.
It’s Not Always This Way
For every successful crowdfunding campaign, many projects have no, or barely any support. For instance, over 60% of Kickstarter campaigns fail.
It’s something that leads me to ask why crowdfunding is often thought of as a means of forging an instant connection?
Recently on Bournemouth seafront, three beach huts were destroyed in a fire caused by a boiling kettle. The dry gorse behind the beach hut meant that the whole cliff top was set ablaze. The owners, faced with a £6,00 bill to replace the damaged beach huts are looking to set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money.
Crowdfunding seems to be the easiest way to ask something of others without any prior connection in the hope that they’ll invest.
What I’m highlighting with this example is the importance to reach out to others in a personal and meaningful way.
Get it right and people will be prepared to spend money and time with you. Approaching an audience with your agenda, not the value you’ll be offering them, is a waste of time.
In a business context (and also applicable when talking about crowdfunding), when people know you and feel you’re speaking from the heart, they’re more likely to trust you.
Heading into any space with a focus and attention on what you can take for yourself and not how you help others results, invariably, in a lacklustre return.
You have to identify an angle from which you create genuine value for people. Naturally, this takes time and when you start having those initial conversations, it can seem an overwhelming task but an approach where your narrative/content becomes a bridge between you and others, genuinely works. What you’re doing is making an emotional connection that is far more valuable and longer term than generating a few likes in the moment.
How do you make that emotional connection?
An emotional connection starts with having a hook that someone else can relate to. You have to ‘read the room’. At the start of the pandemic, I decided that You Are The Media Online would be a constant during lockdown but I couldn’t really think too far ahead. It’s now back for its ‘second season.’
I realised that people were being bombarded with webinar/Zoom invitations or dry presentations that made it hard for them to keep their enthusiasm levels up.
When you live in a world with a lot of B2B messaging, it’s draining and most of all, not very fun, to have someone talking at you on a screen. This is why we created a place from which to celebrate the upsides of life, sing and feature a main guest with whom everyone had the opportunity to interact through posting questions. We’ve even added a poetry segment recently.
The You Are The Media Lunch Online tries to find a balance between taking on board a new idea and making sure everyone who attends still feels like they belong. 2020 has been tough for all of us, no one needs any more ‘how to thrive’ presentations.
What I’m highlighting here is that you have to be on a level with your audience, creating a space where people are going to feel neither overawed nor left out. You have to be generous with the content you share and consistent in showing up.
This makes it easier for others to initially commit to you and it’s also how you encourage a scalable connection.
What can you start doing?
Here is how you can start to form a much more emotive connection, rather than one based on demarcating borders or creating an arbitrary hierarchy.
Say the things that others don’t
Whether that’s sharing something you failed at, lessons taken on board or topics you feel uncomfortable with.
Don’t feel constrained by industry best practice
Just because everyone else is covering a particular topic, it doesn’t mean that you have to get in on the act too. If you do share, connect your narrative to something from your own lived experience.
Make joining in with you, exciting
Create the feeling that people know they’re being listened to and have the opportunity to get involved.
A social media audience alone won’t make your dreams come true
You have to remember that you’re connecting with real people, not just people living their best lives on Instagram.
Be prepared to listen and then respond/react
Everything works better when it’s two way, rather than a one-sided broadcast that can only be met with silence.
Be a voice in an under-served space
When you build a space from zero, find somewhere that isn’t already competing for everyone’s attention. Whilst it may feel isolating to start off with, it also provides the opportunity to bring people together based on your overall objective and the problems you want to solve together.
Give your audience the opportunity to be active within the group, and not just passive bystanders
Thinking about how you can bring people together from behind a screen is one of the most empowering things you can do. Get it right and everyone feels like they have a stake in the community and will take their own responsibility for getting to know each other.
Whilst it’s something of a cliché, it’s true that people want to do business with other people.
The moment we create a connection, we also create a valuable opportunity to get a message across. Creating such connections can become a business goal underpinned by a mission to put more into getting closer to a few people who are ready to listen, rather than sending out a less targeted message to the masses.
There is value in putting in the effort to get to know people and earning their attention, one person at a time.
Creating interesting content that gathers people to what you do is the means by which you achieve this. When people know you are there, they feel like they belong. This can then become a worthwhile business strategy.