“A Brand is what a business does, a Reputation is what people Remember.”
Ted Rubin, author Return on Relationship
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the question – “what is our ROI on that?” – in relation to social media.
With the introduction of social media platforms, businesses have long struggled to figure out what their ROI is from the money spent on time, thought, energy, new employees, etc. put into social media.
Of course that’s an important metric to track from a strategic management perspective – but here’s the typical problem: it’s all about the money!
And that’s not always the most important thing…
ROR, or “return-on-relationship,” is what you should really be paying attention to.
Money isn’t everything
Before social media, it was nearly impossible for business to quantify their influence and customer-base. Loyalty metrics were based on how much money you spent with the business, and forget about the public sentiment – street-corner surveys are never that accurate, anyway.
But NOW – businesses can actually view data-driven results when it comes to measuring social influence, as well as how many people are actively engaged with their brand. That’s some powerful stuff.
And we’ve learned some things about social media…
- You must be genuine and authentic
- It’s not about you, it’s about them
- People like being heard and responded to
- Happy people tell 3, angry people tell 3,000 (which is easier and easier to do online)
- Babies and kittens rule the social world
Now which one of those has anything to do with the dough?
Remember this quote by Ted Rubin, author of the book Return on Relationship,
“Relationships are like muscle tissue, the more you engage them, the stronger and more valuable they become.” tweetable
It’s about listening
Every brand and their brother is out there shouting at the top of their lungs for customers to look at this deal, or check out that product.
But how many of them are listening to what their customers have to say?
Challenge — when is the last time you simply watched your Twitter feed to listen to what your audience was saying, rather than just composing a quick Tweet?
The best thing about listening is it takes the guesswork out of a lot of your decisions. Not sure which update to make to your product or website first? Ask your customers!
When you ask your customers about important improvements and decisions like this, a couple things happen:
- You make worthwhile improvements, rather than guessing on what to do
- Customers feel more connected to your brand
- They feel like their voice matters (and it should!)
- They give you honest and unbiased feedback
- They love you for asking them!
It’s about caring
This ties in closely with listening to your customers, but takes it a little step further.
I have a very good friend who worked for years at one of the largest investment banks in the world. He managed high net-worth clients, and never had sales deadlines. Yet every quarter, he blew away both management and his peers with how many upsells and loyal customers had been nurtured through him.
In fact, he was one of the most valued client representatives in the whole global company!
So how did he do it?
- He never asked a client for money or to buy anything – not once.
- When on a phone call with a client, he listened to what was important to them and took notes to refer back to (*usually this had nothing to do with their money)
- He created commonality with the client by sharing similar personal stories to theirs
He used to tell me, “No one wants to be sold, David. If your primary objective is to make a sale, increase assets, whatever – it probably will never happen. Instead, treat that primary objective more like your secondary objective. By making your primary objective to empathize with and “wow” your customers – that’s how you make more money.”
By focusing on problem-solving with his clients, rather than getting more assets, my friend built lots of loyal relationships with his customers – some of whom even cried when he informed them he was pursuing a different career path. Talk about a break-up!
It’s about Word of Mouth
“PATIENCE is the KEY to Social success. Patience is required to build Trust and Loyalty. ROR takes time.”
– Ted Rubin
Despite our new technologies and social platforms, word-of-mouth remains the most effective form of marketing to this day.
But it’s also the hardest to quantify, or even generate!
But here’s the good news – when you genuinely listen to your customers, and care about their outcome, positive word of mouth is not far behind.
When you show authenticity towards your customers, and get to know them, they are no longer customers – they are evangelists!
And the ROR of an evangelist that is in love with your brand is worth infinitely more than any monetary ROI from a Google click.
Have you done anything to “wow” your customers or get to know them on a personal level? Share with me in the comments below, or tweet at me!
David A. George is the Chief Content Creator at Heyo. He’s passionate about marketing, Android, being at the beach, and breathing underwater. He’d love to connect with you on Twitter or Google+. Or email him at dgeorge(at)heyo.com