Depending on who you ask, romance is the new social media marketing strategy. Some may argue that it's always been the strategy. With the ABC (Always Be Closing) mentality behind marketing sales, it's easy (no pun intended) to correlate a marketing strategy to that of a romantic relationship.
Just ask any one of Taylor Swift's ex-boyfriends. Here is a girl who is constantly on the hunt for her next big breakup. It's a strategy that works for her. At least for now.
For brands and businesses, it's not good practice to strategize solely on the next best customer. Focus on the paying customer now. Once that relationship is as healthy as it can possibly be, expand that circle of influence and carefully invite others to share in your happiness. But have integrity. Be true.
It's just like dating, really. Get to know each other before meeting the parents. Decide if the relationship is worth all the work because all relationships are work. Concentrate on the present and really be present. Have fun and be sure to put your best assets out there, but be human and be romantic. Don't assume and abuse your status or your access to information. Don't be Taylor Swift.
Same thing goes for marketing. It's ridiculous to think that because someone liked your Facebook page or agreed to sign up for an email program because they wanted to enter a sweepstakes, they are in love with your business. It only means that you have a chance at making it something more. One chance to totally screw things up. One chance to build a meaningful conversation. It can also honestly mean nothing. Like a chance meeting at a night club; it doesn't mean there will be a first date. And even if so, it doesn't mean you should call her, email her, or promptly follow her around town (or the open web). There is a good chance that if you don't romance her, she is not going to respond to your addressable marketing (or stalking) or if she does respond, it may not be what you intended. But don't get me wrong, it's not a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario...it's more like, damnit, be human and have a heart. Act like a person and not a douche. Act like a brand and not just a bucket of data.
A successful romance strategy can be boiled down to one thing really: values. Do you have them and do you share them? If you gain a Twitter follower because you host a Twitter party about tips and tricks for taking care of pets, you better be authentic about that subject matter or you risk not only losing that fan, but also creating a poor reputation that may supercede all future efforts. Because eventually people will see your authentic self. A person's core values, just like a company's mission statement and corporate personality, is part of their DNA. It's customer service, but so much more. Your core values must be aligned to that of your target, or your potential life partner, in order for true and deep romance to take place. When I say deep romance, by the way, I'm describing digital and social engagement, advocacy in the public forum (like telling other people that you are a customer or that you are dating) and a real exchange of goods and services, if you know what I am saying. I mean, we are not talking about a digital one-night stand. If you think that gaining all the data you can on a person will turn them into a life long customer, you probably tend to have many one-night stands and will likely never be in a committed relationship with anyone. You probably move on quickly and likely grow bored with people you think you already "know". Consumers who want a deep relationship with a brand will know to go elsewhere and will not trust you for anything more than a once and done deal. And that's too bad. For people and brands alike, long-term and sustainable happiness is key to real growth.
What the world needs most is certainly love, sweet love.
Who can argue that?