Real Life Examples of Genuine Relationship Building That You Can Apply in Your Marketing

Part 2 of 4, Social Shares with Jacob’s Pillow Dance


How do your clients feel about you?

No, really. What if you journaled on that subject for five minutes? What adjectives could you circle in your writing after you were done? 

How your clients describe their feelings and the connection they have with you and your company is 13x more important than how you describe yourself.

As service providers and creatives, we have the beautiful opportunity to really get to know the people we work with and the communities we serve. To hear them on an individual level and offer personalization in a meaningful way. 

We might know them so well we could send them the perfect birthday gift! We’ve gotten to know what brings them joy.

In Part 1 of this genuine relationship building marketing series, I share an example of connecting via “warm email” from my client Nel Shelby.  

Now, rather than focusing on how your client can get to know you, I’d like to challenge you to share more about them. 

(Getting to know your ideal audience is the first focus in my 8-week Confident + Consistent Marketing program. Your audience should be the foundation of every thing you do in your business — how you serve, how you iterate, how you communicate.)

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How can you share the experiences of your best and most vocal fans with the rest of your audience?

One easy way to uplift your ideal clients’ voices is to source social media content from your fans! If you’re rolling your eyes right now, because you know crowdsourcing content can be tricky, don’t click away yet! Let me explain.

My team is currently in charge of running Facebook and Instagram accounts for Jacob’s Pillow.

The Pillow is a National Historic Landmark and “mecca” for dance. Home to America’s longest-running international dance festival, it attracts thousands of visitors to its theatres each summer, in addition to connecting with dancers, choreographers, dance educators and enthusiasts year-round through offerings both local and virtual.

The #PillowCommunity cares deeply about the organization’s mission, programming and physical space. And the Pillow cares deeply about the relationships it builds with patrons. 

On the Pillow’s Instagram, we have made an effort to increase the amount of content we share from the perspectives of our audience and artists. We do this in two ways: finding and re-sharing relevant content our audience posts on their own, and seeking direct input from fans in interactive Stories.

Finding and re-sharing relevant content our audience posts on their own

Because the Pillow’s natural beauty and unique atmosphere shines in photography and videography on the grounds, many Pillow fans, artist faculty and dancers post their own images of their visits to the Pillow. 

Some of these fans tag us directly in their images, making it easy to find and re-share their content. Others use hashtags related to the Pillow: #pillowcommunity #jacobspillow, etc. And others geo-tag Jacob’s Pillow as the location for their images, which gives us yet another source of imagery produced by fans. 

Not only that, but we also have a short list of artists and influencers at any given moment that we check in on to see if they have shared any content that’s relevant to our online community, so we can promote their content as well. 

Remember: you may need to dig a little deeper to find your company in the conversation of others on social media. Not everyone will be thinking like a marketer and tagging you directly! 

At the Pillow, we are careful to credit the original poster of the image whenever we reshare content, which does two things: (1) it acknowledges that we hear and care about our fans and (2) it demonstrates that we aren’t the only ones who love the Pillow — our fans do, too.

Seeking direct input from fans in interactive Stories

Using interactive features on Instagram Stories has also resulted in terrific crowd content for the Pillow.

A great example of this is when we used the Questions sticker to ask artists if they would share their warmup ritual with our audience. Instead of sitting back to wait for artists to find our Q&A on their own, we sent that specific Story to a dozen artists we thought might like to answer via Direct Message (DM). 

Many of the artists had fun participating in our little Q&A and were happy to provide a response. When we shared their replies, it jumpstarted a flurry of new, unsolicited replies from other artists eager to join in the fun.

These tactics of social sharing provide social proof to those new to your company — posts that build trust and your brand reputation. But they also build deeper bonds and connections between you and the ones you’re sourcing content from. The conversations we had in our DMs about artists’ warmup rituals were rich, personal and more involved than what we shared publicly to the rest of our audience. These are moments of true and valuable connection with our audience. Uplifting their voices and demonstrating our aims to support them and keep in touch. 

Social sharing is a wonderful way to build relationships and start conversations with your ideal audience members. Really, it comes down to people feeling heard and loved. Isn’t that what we all want?  


How can you hear and share what your audience is experiencing?

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I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.

Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.

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