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Ted Rubin is a veteran in the game of social marketing. He’s well known for being a brand strategist, keynote speaker and social media marketing influencer, but Ted is most recognized for evangelizing the term  Return on Relationship™ – a social marketing principle centered around the relationship between brands and their audience. Return on Relationship™ or ROR comes after brands effectively plan, build,  strategize and evaluate a social marketing campaign. If done correctly, brands will not only reap the benefits of return on investment, but they have also ensured long term success through building a personal relationship and connection with their engaged audience.

We got a moment to chat with the Most Interesting Man in Social Marketing (in our opinion) for his thoughts on what communicators need to do NOW to start receiving a return on relationship for their social marketing efforts.

Nao Media: What got you into using social networks for marketing?

Ted Rubin: It was a natural for me as soon as I discovered them in 2007/2008… I have been a networker and community builder my whole life, so these platforms were godsends for me.

NM: “Content is king” has been the go-to phrase of the last several years for digital marketers and content creators. In your opinion, is content the cornerstone of modern business?

TR: Content brings people in and creates conversation. I like to say that if “Content is King,” then Connection is Queen… and you know who really rules the house. Old marketing was dictation… new marketing is communication. It’s time to change from Convince & Convert to Converse & Convert!

NM: What is your favorite social platform and why?

TR: Twitter because it gives you a view into what anyone and everyone is talking about. Twitter has the ability to easily build a following and to do so immediately. I believe Twitter is a social marketing tool that leads to other forms of social sharing and is a place to lay the groundwork where other people can pick up things. Twitter is a seeding medium and a place to build engagement and interaction. It is not a broadcast medium (although can be used that way at times). It is not about the quantity of people listening at once, but the ability to lay it out there for those whose attention is drawn to what you have to say at any given moment.

NM: Although companies are starting to take notice of the importance of content in their marketing, many are neglecting to focus on their relationship with their audience. This gap in engagement makes Return on Relationship™  (ROR) more crucial now more than ever. What would you recommend a company do to bridge that gap?

TR: People who spend time on social channels do so to network, build relationships, engage and interact. To be successful on social channels you need to be engaged and offer value! Focus on the relationship first, getting to know consumers and giving them reasons to stay engaged… not just getting them to react.

Brands… consumers are seeking meaning and connection. Is your brand interacting in ways that matter to them? If not, then make this part of your brand DNA… Tell Your Story In a Way People Will Care.

NM: The way we share content is constantly evolving. What content platforms are your favorite(s) and why?

TR: Well, my blog is the content hub for everything I do, and a place I own, versus one that another company is allowing me to publish on. But as far as creating, connecting, and sharing my favorite is Facebook by far, and Instagram a close second… and for straight publishing and reaching the business community be sure not leave out LinkedIn.

Use Instagram to share images which allow people the ability to add their own interpretation to what you post. The connection, syndication and relationship building of this tool is invaluable… and fun. Post on Instagram and syndicate to Facebook, Twitter Foursquare and Tumblr… and images work everywhere! Keep in mind that hashtags on Instagram play a very important role in gaining visibility! Make sure you use them.

NM:What has been the biggest risk you’ve taken professionally and how has it paid off?

TR: Making a full fledged bet on social media as the marketing vehicle to grow e.l.f. Cosmetics ( in Q4 2008 and sticking with it until it paid off despite the many naysayers at the time.

NM: What are some predictions you have for social marketing in 2015?

TR: 2015 needs to be the year of doing what I call… Looking People in the Eye Digitally. The last few decades of marketing tactics have made us lazy communicators and I’ve had just about enough. Most often we don’t even pay attention to who we are talking to other than via the data we collect (and even that’s a maybe). In order to fix this and really start to benefit from social relationships (both as individuals and as companies), we need to start looking people in the eye digitally.’ We don’t need to fit our world to social, we need to fit social to our world.

It’s time to stop making excuses, and start bringing in-person social skills to the digital world. All of the positive benefits are out there waiting, and it’s up to us to make the effort to realize them. Let’s get started! #RonR

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