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The digital world has presented us with incredible opportunities to build relationships and grow your business. We can find pretty much anyone online these days, and we can find endless business opportunities. However, it has also come with its challenges. Between constant notifications, alerts, and messages, having the chance to start a conversation and build a relationship can be difficult. To be successful in marketing online or reaching our ideal audience, we have to find a way to stand out. Without standing out amongst the competition, we may never have a chance to build our desired relationships. 

So how you stand out online and build real relationships? The following are a few ways you can do so:

Send voice and voice messages to show you’re a human and build relationships.

While you may not have time to do this for everyone, you can take a 30-minute walk and spend that time sending voice messages to new connections or to people who commented on a recent post of yours. You’d be surprised at just how many people respond. Plus, I find voice messaging saves a lot of time compared to textual responses.

Kick it up a notch and send a video message instead of a voice message. Like voice messages, this isn’t necessarily scalable, but it’s absolutely worth investing 30 minutes a few times a week to do. 

Set scheduled times to follow up with people and customize such follow-ups to build relationships.

Whenever I talk with a prospect, I immediately set a follow-up reminder on my calendar and write the follow-up message at that time. I’ll pull a piece of information from my conversion and include it in my message. This way, not only am I sure to follow-up, but I’m also sure to show I was paying attention to them. For example, if they mention an upcoming trip, I’ll ask how their trip went. Simple things that show you care go a long way.

Schedule time on your calendar to dedicate to building relationships. 

Similar to the point above, schedule relationship building on your calendar. Yes, you’re busy, but building relationships is essential. Make time for it. That being said, you don’t need an hour a day. Just 15 minutes per day will go a long way. 

Ask for an introduction to shortcut time needed to build a relationship.

So often, we know someone who knows someone we want to know. Reaching out to them yourself is great, but sometimes having the introduction can be your key to an initial conversation. Be bold and ask for the introduction. 

Ask questions in your social media content to increase conversations that lead to new relationships.

Questions are a powerful conversation starter! Asking a question within your social media content encourages comments, which can then create an opportunity to go deeper with those who respond. 

If you want to ask a question within your content, make sure you have properly positioned the question and ask it in a way where you feel your audience would like to provide input. For example, asking your audience their deepest, darkest secret may not be the best question to ask.

Reply to comments and messages. 

This seems like a no-brainer, but too often, it’s pushed to the back burner. Be sure to reply to comments and messages. When doing so, you can ask questions to keep the conversation going.

Start a group to build multiple relationships at once.

Are there people you’d like to get to know, but you aren’t sure how to approach them? Consider starting a group with them. For example, I started a book club with a group of other CPAs. We meet regularly online to talk about a specific book and have become great friends along the way.

In a digital world, too many conversations have become robotic, and as a result, relationships are not properly developed. Consider using these strategies listed above as a way to start real, genuine conversations and build relationships in 2021.

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