Ahhh, long distance relationships.
They start out so full of hope and enthusiasm – but all that sizzle can quickly fizzle.
The phone calls become texts, the texts become emails…and before you know it, your communication has been reduced to a “Happy Birthday” one-liner on your Facebook wall once a year.
That’s because long distance relationships -- personal and professional -- take work.
But cultivating and nurturing a network of clients, peers, mentors, media contacts and other influencers that you can take with you anywhere is well worth the effort.
If you and your business are hitting the road, here are some ideas for keeping your long distance relationships fresh and fun.
Set up video call dates
It’s Friday, the sun is setting on your oh-so-dreamy destination, and there’s a Pink Starburst cocktail with your name on it. Why not take it international by inviting an online friend to join you via video call?
An after-work drink or coffee date over Skype or FaceTime is the ultimate way to connect with someone new or touch base with an old friend from a distance. Yes, video calls do require a little more effort than email or social media (getting out of your pajamas, for one), but they’re as close to an in-person meetup as you can get when that’s just not possible.
Tech Tip: Arrange your video calls using a free scheduling tool such as Acuity or Calendly to avoid time zone confusion.
Bust a cheerleading move
No matter where you’re from, chances are you’ve watched enough American teen movies to know that if you want to Bring It On, you need to pack the pompoms. (Stick with me here.) Cheering on your tribe from afar is one of the most effective ways to deepen your connection with them – and best of all, it’s easy to do.
A fellow coach has a new podcast interview or guest post coming out? Leave a comment to let them know you were listening/reading and which parts you enjoyed the most. Your mentor is launching a new program? Pop the virtual champagne by sharing their offering on social media. A friend in one of your Facebook groups is feeling nervous about a big speaking gig? Pump her up with positivity or send her something funny to loosen those pre-speech nerves.
Tech Tip: Use online monitoring tools such as Hootsuite Streams, Mention or Google Alerts to listen for conversations about specific contacts and keywords.
Treat social media like a cocktail party
Instead of social media networking feeling like another task on your to-do list, imagine you’re attending a cocktail party, champagne glass in hand, mixing and mingling with a room full of lovely new people. (Just don’t stay out too late if you’ve got work to do...) This is your opportunity to be a charming conversationalist -- generously sharing your own expertise and insights, making introductions, and endorsing the skills of people you’ve worked with.
Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn that attract the people you’d like to meet (clients, influencers, peers) and have the right vibe for you (structured vs. organic, assertive vs. nurturing, etc.) are a great place to start making new friends online -- especially if you’re feeling a little isolated on the road. For a more real-time experience, join Twitter chats or Facebook Live events. (Editor’s note: Find relevant chats on the One Woman Shop calendar!)
Tech Tip: Add the Rapportive plugin to Gmail to get LinkedIn profiles right inside your inbox -- a great memory-jogger for details about new connections who email you!
Keep your “wolf pack” in the loop
With most community-building advice focused on being generous and adding value, it’s easy to forget relationships are a two-way street and that you can, and should, share what you’ve got going on in your own business. People who know, like, and trust you will genuinely want to support you (because that’s what friends do), so give them the opportunity to help.
Being Boss founders, Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon, explain how to email your “wolf pack” – a close group of peers, clients, mastermind friends and mentors – prior to launching a new offering in episode #63 of their podcast (around minute 28). Your wolf pack email simply explains what you’re up to, politely invites recipients to share the details (if they wish), and includes a swipe file of share messaging and graphics to make it super quick and easy. (See how to create an epic swipe file here.)
Tech Tip: Create a Google Drive or Dropbox folder for launch images and messaging to share with your “wolf pack.”
Long distance doesn’t have to mean long gone
The beauty of our online businesses is that we can take them anywhere -- and when you cultivate relationships that can stand the test of time, you better believe they’ll follow you anywhere, as well.
Latest posts by Emma Lawrence (see all)
- How to Make Long-Distance (Business) Relationships Work - July 21, 2016