By Robert Russo, co-founder of Keycode.com
To reiterate my maxims about social media, which you can read here and here, business owners have an obligation to dialogue with consumers: They must initiate a discussion, not dictate orders to customers to buy this or do that – to Act now, while supplies last – and forgo the respect these men and women deserve to receive.
The same is true of the network of vendors, the group of featured partners and exclusive retailers, that gives an online company its identity; that influences its reputation, and solidifies its credibility – thanks to the heat and light of that luminescent halo effect – among the Web’s most social brands and energetic evangelists.
In so many words: Business owners must court their vendors by saluting their individual stories, and championing their common values.
For, as I am wont to say, I issue this declaration from years of experience; I offer this comment, in my role as the cofounder of Keycode.com, where running an online coupon comparison site depends on featuring vendors of integrity and exceptional quality.
I know that, at a minimum, these partners and supporters should get something from me – they should enjoy an expression of thanks, by me, to them and their respective consumers – that resonates, as a visual testament of gratitude and a verbal note of appreciation, throughout the world of social media.
Put another way, companies need to use social media as something more than a public newsletter and an echo chamber for the chants and cheers, and the hosannas and hoorays, from an in-house collection of marketers.
Stop congratulating yourselves, and start thanking consumers – and vendors – whose participation is essential to your livelihood.
And yes, I practice what I preach.
These posts about Northern Tool Keycodes, on the one hand, and Sierra Trading Post Keycodes, on the other, are gestures of goodwill: We write about these brands, and underscore the significance of each, by promoting the history – and diversity – of each.
— Sierra Trading Post (@Sierratp) January 25, 2016
We do these things not because we are better than the competition. Nor do we perform these duties because we are the most insightful or eloquent, or the most intelligent or wise.
Rather, we do these things because they are right; we pursue these activities because they are just.
We value our vendors, and we reveal our values by writing about the virtues of our vendors.
Hence our recommendation about social media marketing: Talk less about your advantages, and spend more time – a lot more time – extolling the benefits of your vendors.
Award them your attention by increasing their name recognition.
Let them see for themselves, and share amongst themselves (before they share this material with the world entire), that you have something worth showing.
My recommendation is, thus, as simple as it is strong: Forsake nothing, and forget no one, by making your use of social media as sociable as possible.
We have reason to give thanks, which means we have a responsibility to translate our gratitude into words of graciousness and personal goodness.
Write that post for the longevity of your business, and the success of your partners and vendors.
Write it right now.