As a professional speaker who travels around the world, I often hear people lamenting what technology is doing to us. Many complain that people are spending so much time on social networking services like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others that they are losing track of being with real people. I’ve heard business owners complain about people putting too much time into Twitter, Facebook, etc. and not enough time into business.

I can appreciate that concern. However, I have a different perspective that you will find interesting. Keep reading and I’ll explain more later.

The quote at the top of this article is from the classic, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. I read that book yesterday morning in my study time and it was amazing. I had heard about it for years but had never read it. What a great book! It’s a story about a father and son riding a motorcycle across America years ago. They did it to experience what they couldn’t just by flying or even driving in a car. Throughout the journey, Pirsig explained how in life we have two opposing forces in us and how the ancient Greeks discussed much of what is happening to us today.

The quote above about technology seemed appropriate as it relates to people today with Twitter. Actually, Pirsig was talking about telephones back then but the same principles apply. Today many businesses are in a quandary about what to do with employees who use Twitter all day and don’t get their work done. Yet they don’t want to ban Twitter fearing that they will fall behind others and not be on top of the latest and the best.

So, what is the solution? How does this relate to the important topic of Relationship Marketing? What does it have to do with “Twitter Maintenance?” What does it have to do with Facebook, LinkedIn and any other function in business?

As with most questions like this in business, we have to go back to the basics. What is it that we are supposed to do? Well, my ole buddy Peter Drucker would tell us that the purpose of a business is “to create and keep a customer.” (I refer to Peter Drucker as “my ole buddy” even though I never met this genius — I just read a lot of his material and admire the sage advice of this legend – hence I consider him “my buddy.”)

If we filter every activity and every business decision through the prism of “creating and keeping customers” then we gain a whole new perspective on how to perform maintenance on Twitter – or any activity.

Like email was a few years ago when it emerged from the damp and dreary dungeons of academia to spring forth into life in businesses around the world, the Social Media channels all have their purpose. You shouldn’t ignore them anymore than you would ignore email.

Yet, if you spend all day, every day on email, you aren’t usually going to get a lot done (unless answering email from customers and keeping them happy is your primary job). And that is the key. Make sure you stay in touch with people. It is people who matter most in business. Drucker’s statement has within it the inherent emphasis on “customer” – the person. Focus on people. Connect with them and help them solve their problems. This is Relationship Marketing.

If you use personal face-to-face meetings to help customers, that’s great. If you do it over a telephone, wonderful! If you are making customers (paying customers, that is) giddy with glee that they are dealing with you and your company – I’m High-Fiving you across the digital frontier! Good for you!

So, as a manager of yourself and leader of others, constantly ask how you’re helping customers. Remember the emphasis is on paying customers, not just “opportunities.” Don’t rationalize here. If someone is a “potential customer” they are on trial. If they emerge as a paying customer within a reasonable period of time – that’s wonderful. If not, put them into a back-burner mode where you can stay in touch (they might become paying customers in the future or recommend you for someone else). However, your emphasis has to be on paying customers – if you want to stay in business!

This is the best way to enjoy “Zen and the Art of Twitter Maintenance.” Focus on making customers giddy with glee, and build your bottom line.

Somehow, I think both my buddies Peter Drucker and Robert Pirsig would be smiling at us and nodding with approval.

About The Author:

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who works with businesses to generate profitable results. He can be reached by e-mail at or through his website at Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: @TerryBrock. Join Terry’s Facebook Fan Page at:

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