You’ve probably heard that it takes seven touchpoints to make a sale. Or three, or five, or whatever—it takes that number of interactions with your product before someone will buy it.
You may not have thought about interpersonal relationships in the same way, but it’s a good way to think about them. You’re (hopefully) not literally trying to “sell” anything in your relationships with your friends and family. But you are trying to maintain good relationships. In cold-hard marketing terms, those are long-term sells.
Forget the metaphors, though: The point is, just like how you have to use multiple touchpoints with a product to achieve sales, you need multiple touchpoints with people to maintain good relationships.
Social media is a huge touchpoint.
It’s not the only one, and it’s not the endpoint, but it can be really helpful to keep in touch between real-life encounters.
One simple example: My wife and I celebrated our fifth anniversary recently. I bought flowers, a card, a gift, brought her breakfast that morning—all the stuff you do to make a day special. But because we’re both nerds, we also of course posted on our Facebook accounts and tagged each other.
It’s not a replacement for any of the other stuff, but it’s a nice thing to do in that context, kind of like buying flowers or writing a nice message in a card. It’s a kind of surprise—Oh look, I’ve got a new Facebook notification and…isn’t that nice!
The one thing people don’t do really well is use social media touchpoints beyond their close personal network. Imagine taking time once per week to touch base with someone who you haven’t spoken with in a month, six months, a year.
It’s not an endpoint, but it’s a nice conversation—a surprise. Think of how much you’d like getting a message out of the blue from someone. No agenda, no ulterior motive, just a, “Hey, I wanted to say what’s up.”
Maybe you end up making plans or seeing more of that person. Or, worst-case scenario, maybe you brightened that person’s day with a nice message.