Ted Rubin and I “met” back in 2010 via social media and Ted’s extraordinary personality and commitment to establishing and maintaining connections is what has made him who he is today. His “Return on Relationship” theory of engaging in a more personal way in ALL aspects of our lives has become one influential message that is quickly becoming a beloved belief. Ted’s amazing ability to connect and influence is well-deserved and I appreciate his time with me in answering some questions for Simple Bliss Mag.

SBM: Have companies lost the human touch over the years or was it always an issue?

Ted: Commerce is coming full circle and people once again want to know the merchants they deal with, be known by them, but not to just sell them more product… to deliver “value,” and show their humanity.

SBM: How has social media changed the way businesses communicate to customers?

Ted: The one-size-fits-all broadcast messaging now falls predominantly on deaf ears. With today’s digitally savvy consumers, businesses must now communicate on a personal level with messaging that is customized to the buyer. As soon as prospects enter your buying funnel, you should know who they are and where they are in the buying process. From that moment on, their email communications and website visits should be customized to reflect what you already know. Consumers expect socially integrated communications and cross-media campaigns that are tailored to their needs.

Today’s consumers have a near insatiable need for information, and successful brands are filling that need by concentrating on educating and informing. Instead of selling, they highlight their expertise and the value of their products and services through multidimensional communications that feature videos, content-rich websites, social media streams, informational blogs, educational eBooks, and compelling infographics. The key is to keep your focus on your buyers’ needs. Do more listening on a variety of social channels. Make it easy for people to converse with you and share your content. Stop pushing for the close, and start delivering value at every touch point.

SBM: How did you develop this passion?

Ted: I like to say I got started in social media as soon as getting involved in this thing we call the Internet when I joined Seth Godin’s start-up, Yoyodyne, in 1997. Everything digital enabled sharing in ways never imagined before… so for me that is where it all began. Although I have always been social and networking, building relationships, has been at the heart of what I do, it was in 2008 when I joined e.l.f. Cosmetics that social marketing became the core of what I do every day. Social platforms were first starting to dramatically scale and I was fortunate to be at a brand where making it the heart of what we did seemed to be the natural way to go. We were selling to women, without which, in my humble opinion, there would be no social marketing; we were selling a fun aspirational product, cosmetics; and since e.l.f. was a family-owned business there was no legal team to get in the way of my social experimentation. The brand thrived, we built the first aggregated social content site for a brand, and consumers felt like they were a part of the success.

SBM: How do you keep things simple and real?

Ted: There are certain quotes, from people I respect, that I have taken to heart and created a life philosophy that works for me. Here they are, I hope they can mean something to my girls, who I am here for always no matter what, and to others…

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” ~Dale Carnegie