By Amy Kattan
On this blog, we are always talking about social media best practices and how we can build relationships with our consumers that are valuable and long-lasting. Since today is Valentine’s Day, I started thinking about some of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) couples. I came to the realization that many of the social media best practices we preach every day can also apply to real romantic relationships: In the end, it’s all about building and maintaining strong relationships, whether it’s with a consumer or significant other. Here, I’ve put together some social media lessons that could have benefited some of our favorite couples:
A Lesson for Noah and Allie
The Notebook is a love story between two people who are very different from one another. The one thing Noah and Allie never lacked is authenticity. They were never afraid to be themselves around one another: in fact, it’s this authenticity that made them so great together. Allie learned the importance of authenticity when she split from Noah and began dating Lon. Although Lon seemed perfect for her on paper, Allie was never truly herself around Lon. When Allie was with Noah, she used painting as a way to express her personality. When she started dating Lon, she stopped painting. It’s no wonder Allie went crawling back to Noah in the end. Like any good relationship, it’s important for brands to practice authenticity and transparency when interacting with consumers. The only way to build lasting relationships is to be honest with your audience about who you are. Without authenticity, the connection with your consumers won’t be as strong and may result in your consumers taking their business elsewhere.
Lessons for Ross and Rachel
For those of you who haven’t heard about the Ross/Rachel “We were on a break” fiasco, this relationship has definitely had its ups and downs. During season 3 of Friends, Ross and Rachel were dating when Rachel got a new job. The job became very demanding and required a lot of Rachel’s time. This upset Ross because he was “tired of having a relationship with her answering machine.” Rachel said they should take a break, which Ross interpreted as a “break up.” Being sad and newly single, he hooked up with someone else later that night. Despite always loving one another, Ross and Rachel didn’t get back together until season 10.
Let’s start with Rachel: If you’re going to be in a committed relationship, you need to put in the time. Relationships require a great deal of effort. Ross probably felt neglected and hurt when Rachel put her job before him. Brands need to realize that social media is not just something to do in your spare time: its an investment and something that requires a great deal of effort. Put the time into building real relationships with your consumers and show them that they are a priority. Ross and Rachel ended up together 7 years later, but as a business, you can’t afford to wait 7 years to see results.
Although it’s easy to blame Rachel, Ross is also largely to blame. He may have thought they were broken up, but hooking up with someone else just a few hours after Rachel decided she wanted a “break” was a poor decision. In fact, at one point in season 4, Ross and Rachel almost got back together. Rachel wrote Ross an 18-page letter (front and back!) explaining how she feels and asked Ross to take responsibility for everything that went wrong in their previous relationship. Ross’ reaction: “We were on a break!” If Ross had just apologized and taken responsibility at this moment, the couple could’ve gotten back together much sooner than they did. Brands need to be able to apologize when they do something wrong. Nobody’s perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you take some responsibility – you’d be surprised at how forgiving your customers can be.
A Lesson for Carrie and Big
Like Ross and Rachel, Carrie and Mr. Big had a roller coaster of a relationship on Sex and the City. The main reason I dislike Big is because of the mind games he played on Carrie: he always seemed to want her when she was unavailable (e.g. he pursued her when she was dating Aidan) and was never able to commit to her when she was available (he didn’t even show up to their wedding). This shows a complete lack of disrespect for Carrie. In a relationship, it is important to show one another that you care and each person should make the other a priority. Brands: you wouldn’t be where you are today without your consumers. Show them how much you appreciate them. Thank them for engaging with you and share their stories (and you know, a little surprise and delight never hurt anyone). If you show your fans a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, they’ll be sure to reciprocate.
A Lesson for Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries
Kim and Kris had a fairytale wedding. To the untrained eye, it seemed that this marriage would last a lifetime. If you watched Kourtney and Kim Take New York this season, you’d realize that Kim and Kris never really made any long term plans. After they had already tied the knot, the couple were still arguing about where they were going to live and how many kids they would have and when. If you’re going to make a relationship work, you need to think long term. If Kim and Kris set long term goals for their relationship before they got married, their relationship may have lasted more than 72 days. Either that, or they would have realized that they weren’t a match and never would have gotten married in the first place. It’s important for brands to set a social media strategy with long term goals. If you begin executing your strategy and you see that you are not not receiving the anticipated results, it’s time to re-strategize! As social media professionals, we often get bogged down in our day-to-day execution and lose site of the big picture: the real reason why we invest in social media. Kim and Kris: if you were going to make this kind of commitment, you should have had a long-term plan!
What other social media lessons can you think of? Who do you think could benefit from these lessons?