Saturday, October 20, 2012

An Old but Overlooked Form of Social Media

There is one (1) form of social media that is not very new, but it's extremely important...

Many of us forget about this one most basic form of social media.
For all of the discussion, seminars, blogs, and videos discussing the merits of social media, there is one form of social media that gets neglected--not only in terms of education but especially in practice.

It's the Personal Email.

The personal email is a genuine way to connect with people.

Personal Email vs. Email Marketing Campaigns

Sure there are email marketing programs, and they are an incredible improvement over the single auto-response we got in the "old days."  Yep, we can "personalize" those with tags, and those will help us "develop a relationship" with them.

Email marketing is great for branding and staying in front of the customer.  I'm not trying to imply that it's a bad idea.

Email marketing campaigns, however, are a POOR replacement for a personal email.

Personal Email vs. Social Media

Social media can be a lot of fun.  You have access to people 24  hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  That IS very cool!

Web 2.0 technology (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc.) has been a tremendous upgrade over Web 1.0 technology (i.e. chat rooms, forum posting, etc.).  Today, we can share things with all of our "friends" instantly, and it is easy for those friends to pass the message to their friends.

There are businesses that can win over a lot of people using social media, because they truly build friendships with social connections.  They're engaging people, and they think to share things that are engaging.  People like to do business with people they like (or at least know and trust).

Social media CAN be used effectively for this.  (Side Comment: Most businesses fail miserably at this.)

However, social media does NOT replace a personal email.

Using social media without partnering that with a personal email is sort of like attending a party where you know everybody, but you don't know anything about anybody.  You know their business but not what's important.

I've met a few people, and I sent them a personal email.  They never returned the email, but they requested a social media connection (i.e. Facebook Friend or LinkedIn Connection).  They thought that this was an acceptable reply to my email.

How much, do you think, I feel valued?

A personal email allows private conversation with a chance to truly get to know that person more.

So few people send personal emails, this old version of social media works wonders for me.  It separates me from the crowd (in many cases).

The new stuff is great, but don't forget about the old stuff that still works.

One Final Parting Note about Personal Emails

By the way, sending out an email to a person does not make it personal.

If you send an email that says something, like...

Hi, Mr. New Person.

It was nice to meet you yesterday at the event.  We should talk sometime.

-Mr. Oblivious
Well, THAT was special, huh?  Don't  you feel the warmth?

Make sure that if you take the time to send an email to someone personally, that you have something personal to say...or even ask.

How do you feel about this?  Do you use email, or has social media replaced your method of communicating with people?

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