Everyone is trying to assign a dollar value to a Facebook fan or Twitter follower instead of addressing the fact that the engagement and interaction that takes place in these mediums are incredibly important to a brand.

Building a relationship with existing and future customers is the true value and strength of social media/marketing and what will and has allowed brands to survive and flourish for the long-term.

ROI (return on investment) is incredibly important whenever investing, but companies have to start looking at ROR: Return on Relationship™, when planning, strategizing and most importantly evaluating social marketing … especially smaller competitors who can more easily drive and control Relationship Marketing.

A new study shows that those who are fans or followers of a brand on Facebook or Twitter, respectively, are significantly more likely to buy products and services or recommend the brand to a friend. Specifically, the study found that over 50 percent of Facebook fans and Twitter followers say they are more likely to buy, recommend than before they were engaged in those mediums. Welcome to the “Age of Influence,” where anyone can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships and make a difference.

Most measurements and empowerment stats use with regard to relationships (i.e. number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers,  retweets, site visits, video views, positive ratings and vibrant communities) are not financial assets. These stats cannot be reflected on the balance sheet or counted on an income statement, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless. Instead, these are leading indicators that a brand is doing something that is creating value which will lead to financial results in the future.

In other words, ROR. This is a  term I started using and evangelizing after many years of seeing that the true long-term value of brand “and” personal marketing is the relationship that will be with you for the long-term and will drive ROI if developed and used effectively.

Long-term, E-commerce success is in a big way relative to Relationship Commerce, building relationships and interacting with consumers. Relationships are extremely important. The relationship a customer has with a company can make or break the company’s success. This is perfectly exhibited with what Amazon and Zappos do to nurture a relationship. Relationships matter.

In a fast paced, digital world, defining and maintaining our relationships has become unexpectedly difficult. Social Media has enabled us to connect with an infinite number of individuals; it has given us the tools to extend relationships that years ago would have been impossible. Now the key is to nurture those relationships and extend them to assist in product creation, decrease in customer service issues, life of the customer, sharing with friends, and increased sales.

Initially published at: PR at Sunrise October 26, 2010

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