These days there’s an app for everything – your boarding pass is on your phone, nobody carries around a flashlight, and the physical newspaper has all but been replaced. Countless industries have been disrupted by mobile technology, and the world of dating is no different. For those who don’t know (and those who are pretending not to 😉 Tinder, is an application where people in the same area can “match” with each other and begin a conversation. Some say that Tinder, and the baker’s dozen of copy cat apps, have turned dating into a superficial game. Others say its all harmless fun, but all I’m saying is that you can learn valuable lessons for business by observing the way that dating has evolved.
Social media has created an entire generation of Public Relations experts. 15-year-old girls now know exactly how construct an Instagram post to get the most likes based on data that they have collected, either consciously or subconsciously. Additionally, on popular dating apps like Tinder there is a clear formula for attracting the opposite sex in the online world: hold a dog, be a firefighter and smile! However, as more and more people begin to put out the PR version of themselves, authenticity has become a dying art.
When it comes to your online presence, your business should be known for what it really actually is. Data is an important part of the marketing funnel, but it should not come before authenticity. As one HubSpot blog puts it “Authenticity alleviates the needs for trying to be everything to everyone (because authentic people won’t be).” When it comes to your website, social media accounts, and email campaigns, you should seek to have a consistent and authentic brand voice across all channels. Authenticity has become a rare commodity, and the businesses that exhibit a genuine personality will win big with their target audience.
Online dating has given people the ability to set parameters for their potential mates. Some allow you to filter out individuals based on location, age, and also on specific criteria. This data based approach to dating has streamlined the entire process. Instead of hoping to bump into someone at a karaoke bar or coffee shop, you can now be intentional about putting your face in front of those you are trying to connect with.
For businesses looking to connect with a specific audience, the targeting capabilities have never been more robust. One of the greatest advertising tools for targeting specific users is the Facebook Advertising Platform. Whether you like it or not, Facebook is sitting on a giant pile of data. They know who you are, where you live, what you like, and what you dislike. This information is an invaluable resource to business that are looking to connect to a certain niche. If you own a pizza place in a college town, you can offer a discount to students at that school, then target only individuals who are attending that school. This is just a small example of the possibilities that targeting have created for businesses. Data have given businesses the ability to create a match made in heaven, and turn that match into revenue.
You’re vegan, he runs a hot dog stand. You love sports, she thinks Steph Curry is a gourmet Indian cuisine. It’s not always easy, but finding common interests are crucial for both love and marketing. The last time you went on a first date, it was likely sparked by a common interest. Perhaps you struck up a conversation with someone in the grocery store, realized you both have a love for kayaking, then you exchange information and next thing you know, you’re paddling through open waters together.
Metaphorically speaking, your business no longer has to sit through boring first dates, only to find out that you have nothing in common with your target client or customer. Think about it, social media marketing is very similar to a first date. You strike up a conversation online, centered around a common interest. If the conversation goes well, you exchange information. This is a crucial part of the marketing funnel where you collect lead information in order to follow up with an individual (usually through a form on your website). Lastly, converting that lead into an action is the final step – using the same analogy, getting a person to commit to the date and show up, would be the same as making a sale on your product.
Although it seems like a no brainer, connecting over common interests is not a part of the social media strategy for many companies. You have to romance a prospective client into a mutually beneficial relationship based on common interests. Spamming people and asking for information is no different than walking into a bar with a megaphone and announcing, “I am single and I will be collecting numbers for anyone who would like to date me”. Etiquette, manners, romance, and authenticity may be the very thing holding back your digital marketing strategy. Start treating people online the way you would treat someone on a first date and you’ll start to see the power of social media to grow your business.