Could you imagine anything worse than having a blocked toilet on Saturday night, or ruined hair just before going out? We’ve all had our share of frustrations trying to beat the daily grind: things go wrong, trying to find someone to fix them, searching online, getting wrong people, time and money wasted, trust lost, and so it goes day in day out.
When you need someone to help you with those small or day-to-day jobs, the first thought that usually comes to mind is “would any of my friends know someone good who could do this for me?”
Friends build bridges and bridge distances
Everyone needs friends. Friends are the people who get us, who stand by us when we’re down, who share with us the best and the worst times of our lives.
We know a lot about our friends. What they eat, and (more importantly) what they don’t. Their favorite drink on a night out. Who they date. What they wear. Where they go on holidays. Who they hate more – Hillary or Trump.
Given how much we know and share with friends, it is puzzling that we often barely know what our friends are good at and what they do for a living. Most of us can vaguely remember the names of the companies our friends work for, let alone the skills and talents they have.
On surface it seems that we associate friendship with fun, entertainment and good times – not mixing it with something as boring as work. In reality, most of our decisions and choices are influenced by friends – one way or another.
Social proof or herd behavior
People’s tendency to align their behavior with those around them – sometimes known as herd behavior – is better explained by a psychological term Social Proof.
We’re social animals, and we tend to look around us when making choices. Friends are possibly our greatest influencers in making choices on what to buy, where to travel or what to do. One comment from a friend – “don’t go there, crap service”, or “I bought this, and it broke in a week” can turn you into a bias hater .
At the same time, friends’ recommendations, like “I’m using this app – it’s awesome!”, or “I have found the best plumber – does great job, and is super reliable!” – are the most powerful endorsements, and can save you lots of time and money. After all, who would you personally trust more – some random person in a commercial ad promoting products or services for a hefty fee, or your own mate sharing with you something as a friend?
According to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report released in 2015, the most credible form of advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust. Some 83% of online respondents in 60 countries say they trust the recommendations of friends and family over all forms of advertising.
Backing your friends
Every brand and business have a face behind them. And it could be a face of your friend. If your friend is an entrepreneur starting or running a small business, he or she has to handle all the marketing and promo campaigns – a lot of times with little or no experience doing that. That’s when they need you more than ever…
Endorsing someone for the job well done is not just a nice gesture. It is an intrinsic part of the payment for the value they have added to your life. Sharing that endorsement with friends is adding a value and potential benefit to their lives.
The problem is that online most of us seem to “collect” rather than “connect” with friends. It is easy to get caught up in the chase for collecting followers and likers, forgetting in the process to build a true community of passionate fans. Having 100 really passionate friends and fans is exponentially more effective than having 10,000 “fans” who signed up just to win a free iPad.
Remember all the times you talked about changing the world, saving lives, making a difference? Start with the people closest to you – your family and your friends. They are the ones who matter most, and they are the ones who need you most. Be a better friend and add a real value to their lives.
Word-of-mouth seals friendship
Say you’ve found a great hairdresser, love your new haircut and want to keep her long term. You could say the usual thanks, pay the fee and make a booking for next month. Pretty standard behavior – no real connection nor relationship established here.You could however approach it differently. After all you have had so many crappy haircuts in your life, and you know that you’ve found a real gem this time. You want to connect better and for a long term, and have some sort of a “buddy” relationship with your new hair guru, with all the perks you would normally get from a friend in business. Just paying and making a booking for next month is not going to cut it.
The best way to show your newly discovered hairdresser your appreciation and commitment, is to spread the word and get them more business. Luckily, good old-fashioned word-of-mouth conversations are no longer centered around office coffee machines or family barbecues.
There are various online channels to create a storm. Consider this, a post that takes you just a few minutes to write, will be seen by hundreds of your friends, who in turn can send it further. This is not just a social proof of the great job, but, what we at ZippyCrowd call a new friendship currency – or Return On Relationship (ROR). Fueling conversations and driving passion will make a huge difference for your hairdresser’s brand, and in return will create a much more meaningful bond in your relationship.