Today is International Day of Happiness, a day set up to encourage people to make more connection –  real life genuine connections that add value to your life and overall happiness!

We spend a lot of our time talking to clients about how to build connections online, which can feel a bit alien to those used to picking up the phone or meeting someone face to face before they do business. However online relationships can be just as powerful as real life ones if you nurture them in the same way and if you are targeting a wide customer base, chances are you are never going to have the opportunity to meet them all face to face before they chose to buy from you.

So how do you make meaningful relationships with your customers and keep them happy online?

Easy – don’t sell at them!

 Content marketing, the practice of communicating with your current customers and prospects without selling, is one of the big marketing buzzwords of the decade. The concept is simple: ‘if an organisation delivers consistent, ongoing and valuable information to buyers, the organisation is rewarded with their business and loyalty.” (Content Marketing Institute).

When businesses first start getting social, it can seem counter-intuitive to share other businesses news, posts and images. Why would you spend your time advertising their business and not your own? Yet this is how you build a collaborative and engaged community online. It’s time to take the sales hat off and put the ‘being useful’ hat on!

Here’s an example to put it into perspective. If your business was an independent local florist looking to generate more wedding bookings, you could use your online presence to engage with local bridal shops, wedding venues and other suppliers, creating content that will be interesting to them and their audience. After all, you are targeting all the same people!

You could share your content along with supporting their relevant Facebook updates, liking their photos on Instagram, and getting involved in conversations with them on Twitter.

What’s the point in that you ask?

Well firstly, you can build a relationship with these businesses that complement yours, creating opportunities for partnerships and referrals.

Secondly, venues and wedding dresses are both part of your target customer’s buying process. A potential customer might see that you shared a status from their preferred venue, or see that you and a local bridal shop have had an interesting conversation on Twitter about using flowers in a wedding colour scheme. Sharing useful content online opens up your audience to those customers who might not even know about you yet. Plus, this kind of social interaction shows consumers that you are ‘in the know’ in your sector, and that you have good relationships with the rest of the bridal community.

So this International Happiness Day, keep your customers happy online and remember: don’t sell! Here’s a final point from the founders of the day itself:

“Although online relationships will never be as valuable as those we create in person – the internet is still a great tool for spreading good ideas! You can help make the world a happier and more connected place by sharing an inspiring personal message with others”