Sunday, October 9, 2011

Put Your Most Important Relationships First

I have one husband.

I have one child.

I have four close women friends.

Compare this with the fact that I have 261 "friends" on Facebook, 239 people who have added me on Google+, 500+ contacts on Linkedin, 2,575 followers on Twitter, and 1,437 subscribers to my blog. 

This is not a popularity contest. 

My challenge is this, how in the world do I (and you) manage all of these relationships?

I am struggling to figure this out.

The promise of social media is its ability to connect us to amazing, new people across space and time.  And while I have met new and interesting people on Linkedin and Facebook, that I wouldn't have bumped into elsewhere, I can't keep up with all of these connections.  Not in any meaningful way.

I hate to admit it but I don't have time to thank everyone who RTs (retweets) my stuff on Twitter.  I don't have time to check status updates on Facebook.  Heck, I hardly have time to get through my inbox!

So what's a marketer, fundraiser, aka relationship-builder to do?

I think the answer is twofold.

1) Create a small tribe - a core group of peers, colleagues, friends, etc. and build deep and authentic relationships with this group over time.  Regardless of the tools you use to stay in touch, nurture these relationships with great care.  These people should get the bulk of your time and attention. 

2) Create or join a big tribe - a group of peers, colleagues, friends, etc. and stay loosely connected to these folks over time.  Read their blog posts when you can.  Send an email twice a year.  But instead of aspiring to know these people on a deeply personal level be content with living at arms length. 

The trick is determining who goes into which group and why. 

It may seem obvious, but my husband, daughter, friends and co-workers belong in the first tribe.  I spend most of my time with these folks.  More important, I have committed to making these relationships work.  If I do my core relationships right, my peeps and I will blossom over time.

Vendors, past customers, clients and collaborators go in tribe two.  I nurture these relations as best I can but I don't expect big ROI from these connections.  I spend the minority of my time with these folks. Sometimes (though rarely) someone moves from tribe two to tribe one.

The PAIN of technology is that it has made us more scattered.  I am easily lost in a swirl of insignificant communication.

Don't let this happen to you.  Put your most important relationships first.  Choose your tribes wisely and allocate the majority of your time and attention to the most important people in your life.  Then let go of the guilt that says you're not doing enough.  




Sue Anne said...

The "tribe" issue is a great way to manage social media. I've had a "must reads" list on Twitter forever (I think I set it up as soon as Twitter created lists). It never has more than 15 people on it, and it's the people I interact with the most and get the most value out of on Twitter. I'm finding groups on Facebook starting to serve that purpose as well. And, you can do the same thing with Google+ circles.

Social media doesn't have to be overwhelming and uber-time consuming. There is no one right way to manage social media and it's all about finding that balance between how much time you're spending & the value you're getting out of it.

Jocelyn said...

Hi Sue Anne,

Thanks for your comment and I think you are so right that more segmentation is needed to make social media more manageable and rewarding.

That is what I like about Google+, i.e. that you start segmenting your contacts from Day 1. That said, I still haven't found time to actually connect with the folks in my key circles yet!

Any other ideas for how nonprofits can still stay sane and do a good job of managing their relationships with donors, advocacy supporters and members via social media?

I hope you are well!


CJJohnsonWrites said...

As someone that is shy or introverted by nature, I have found it vital that I build small tribes. I am not the person with 10,000 facebook fans/twitter followers but that's ok. I have resolve with that because I know that the key is strengthening my "core" tribe. It is said that all you need to create a strong brand or aid in furthering your aspirations is 100 "true" fans. Thats my goal :)