Here’s a test for you: take a look at your LinkedIn list of connections and count the number of people who have refused your desire to do business with them. When you have done that, look through your Twitter followers and see how many have stopped doing business with you. Then go over to Facebook and look through your friends list to find individuals who have steadfastly kept their wallets in their pockets, never doing any more business with you.
Once you have done that – disconnect yourself from them. That’s right, get rid of all those people from your lists who you have tried to do business with but who have refused to co-operate. They are draining your positivity.
Think about the “olden days” before the Internet for a moment. If you tried to do business with someone but your were unsuccessful, losing the contract to a competitor, you never really knew what happened. You moved on to the next customer and after the initial upset you regained your positive attitude. Now, though, when you lose business and you remain connected to the very people you were trying to charm, you are constantly reminded of what they are doing with your competitor. You get Tweets about it, you see their status updates on LinkedIn and they even invite you to join their new business page or group on Facebook. Talk about rubbing it in…!
Of course, your head goes “I may be able to do business with them in the future so I’ll stay connected” but your heart goes “I wish it was me”.
The issue is similar to ending a romantic relationship. When a couple splits up it is very awkward if you keep seeing the “other half”. When couples work together, for example, and then they end their relationship, ultimately one of them has to leave and get work elsewhere because it is just too uncomfortable to work together any more. When people are constantly reminded that their former romantic partner has found new love it is difficult for the ditched individual to move on. Instead they are constantly reminded “that should have been me”.
This leads to negativity, sadness and an inability to make progress with their own life. It is an issue which relationship counsellors are well aware of; it is something that has been happening well before the Internet.
However, a new study from Brunel University has shown that when former couples still remain connected on Facebook they find it just as difficult to move on with their life as would happen in the “real world” when couples split up. The researchers conclude: “avoiding exposure to an ex-partner, both offline and online, may be the best remedy for healing a broken heart”.
Now, whilst losing a customer may not quite be the same as being ditched at the altar, the issue is similar. Your business growth may be hampered by constant reminders of what your ex-customers are now up to. Ditch them from your connections – move on.
- What Marketers Can Learn From Facebook “Unfriending” Study (hubspot.com)
- Facebook and Twitter: The Art of Unfriending or Unfollowing People (socialpsychology.org)
- Click “Unfriend” to Get Happier (news.health.com)
- Why You Should Unfriend Facebook Friends (ariherzog.com)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+