Facebook fans, retweets, site visits, video views, positive ratings and vibrant communities are not measureable financial assets—they aren’t reflected on the balance sheet and can’t be counted on an income statement—but that doesn’t mean they are valueless. Instead, these are leading indicators that a brand is doing something to create value that can lead to financial results in the future. In addition these relationships can be leveraged through initiatives, campaigns, and events to create real dollar value for a brand. In other words, ROR – Return on Relationship!
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. Yet make no mistake: “Social Media is a facilitator of relationships, but it is not the relationship itself.” You have to give to get; it’s so simple in concept yet not always easy to wrap your arms around when online since it is not as simple as a favor, a hug or a handshake.
I believe everything we do in our personal lives and business revolves around relationships… now more than ever. With effort, an online relationship may begin from the request of a Facebook friend or following someone on Twitter; but make no mistake – that initial request or follow will never create the relationship. Trust is built upon interaction, when you’re true to your word, authentic, and genuine. To build relationships online, you (as a brand or individual) have to offer value in return. Be it via valuable information or personal introductions, engagement and interaction will remain key. By asking questions and proposing ideas, you can engage your followers in such a way to give them the ability and reason to respond. Then when they do respond, interact with them to solidify your relationship, lest it fade away. Directly acknowledge their response, ask follow-up questions and share their insights with others. Follow me on Twitter (@tedrubin) and you’ll see what I mean. The more responsive you are to your audience, the more responsive they’ll be to you. And that’s where relationships are born.
Return on Relationship™ (hashtag #RonR)… simply put the value that is accrued by a person or brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROI is simple $’s and cents. ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing.
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