Originally posted at Thinking Out Loud

Ted Rubin is the Chief Social Marketing Officer of Collective Bias, a Social Shopper Media Company that drives retail sales through the coordinated creation of social media stories. He is also a leading social marketing strategist and in 2009 started using the term ROR: Return on Relationship™… a concept he believes is the cornerstone for building an engaged multi-million member database and upon which his book Return on Relationship is based. Ted is also a highly in demand public speaker, and you can get a taste of Ted’s ability to communicate here.

Many people in the social media world know Ted for his enthusiastic, energetic and undeniably personal connection to people. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter according to Social Media Marketing Magazine; one of the most interesting CMOs on Twitter according to Say Media, and one of the Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, 2013. ROR is the basis of his philosophy…It’s All About Relationships!

Ted believes the key to continued success for any brand/retailer/etailer is identifying with the customer. Ted is quick to point out “listening is finally getting the respect it deserves through Social Media… listen and adjust your message to make it relevant to your consumer. Brand loyalty declines due to lack of relevance… a direct result of not listening.” “Number one is always try to understand who your customer is and stay true to your brand.”

Ted has a deep online background beginning in 1997 working with best selling author, entrepreneur and agent of change Seth Godin at Yoyodyne, which was acquired in Q4 1998 by Yahoo!

Ted served as a Social Marketing and Engagement Advisor to Big Fuel Communications until they were acquired in March 2011 by Publicis Groupe, and is on the Advisory Board of Blue Calypso, Crowdsourcing Week, Expressible, EvenVoice, OpenSky, SheSpeaks, and Zuberance.

His personal philosophy is simple: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

I am thrilled to add him to my growing list of Tips From the Tops guest contributors.

Here are some vital pearls of wisdom from his very valuable treasure chest.

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1 – Content Creation Is The Ultimate Fan Advocacy

Your Content is the Ad

What it all boils down to is that in the new world of content marketing, the Content “IS” the Marketing. Sharing, conversation, and emotionally connected content will be the ads of the future. Instead of thinking in terms of “Convince and Convert,” start thinking in terms of “Converse and Convert.” Helpful content gives your customers reasons to stay engaged—not just react—and also increases brand advocacy.

So start thinking like a publisher because the more relevant, helpful content you create, the better you can drive engagement.

2 – Make Engagement More Personal!

Superman Socks SoFabCon

People respond to people best in one-on-one, face-to-face situations—that’s just the way we are. So when you try to automate that process and remove the personal connection, immediately there’s a wall between you and your audience.

People gravitate toward social communities to talk to each other, find out what’s going on, ask for recommendations for things or services we need or want, etc. So social engagement isn’t just about posting stuff; it’s about communicating with real people.

3 – Lose the Fear and Embrace the Opportunities of Social Media

Relationships ARE

Social conversation is a fluid thing, so you need to plan ahead, but be flexible enough to view some things you may consider bad as opportunities. You can’t control the conversation, so don’t try—the important thing is to be involved in the conversation and work with it; have a plan for moderating and don’t let fear hold you back. People who don’t fly because they’re afraid of what might happen don’t get anywhere fast.  So lose the fear! Embrace the possibilities instead!

4 – Adding Value Back into Online Relationships

$ vs Value

Make a conscious effort to re-evaluate the word friend as you currently think of it the next time you’re on social channels. Look at your own online self and ask, “Would I want to be my friend?” Are you doing what it takes to be a real friend, or have most of your online relationships gone on autopilot or faded into the crowd?

5 – The Key is The Shopper

Think Reputation not Ranking

Remember, the success and impact of your product is not about how much you love it, but about how much your customers love it. What they love, they purchase – you can’t get much better measure of ROI than that!

6 – Build Customer Relationships with Branded Story-Telling


Whether your business is selling widgets or services, success depends on thinking more in terms of delivering stories about those widgets or services and how people use them than about pumping out feature-rich fact sheets or ads. Your customers want to hear those stories, so find more ways to tell them! Reach out to your brand advocates and collaborate with them, and don’t forget to include quality of engagement in your metrics for a better overall view of how you’re doing. In other words, think like a publisher—you’ll get better results.

7 – Life is About CREATING Yourself.

Life isn't About

It’s the uncharted experiences, not the guided tours, which truly help us “create” ourselves. When we listen to the inner nudge to do something different and go in a way that intuition leads us—follow our dreams and desires rather than in someone else’s footsteps—those are the moments that define who we are and give us insight into how we can participate in the world around us. We shouldn’t lose sight of that.

8 – Personal Connection is Coming Full Circle

If you don't value what I do 3.30.13

The new pattern of engagement bears striking resemblance to the grocery of 1900, but in some ways, it is better. The reach of a retailer is global, 24×7, and has a perfect memory for preferences and past transactions, and the ability to create relevant emotionally connected content at scale. The new retailer can manage a virtually unlimited number of conversations in exactly the same moment and offer something completely customized, individualized and relevant, in a voice appreciated and valued by their consumers.

This is the corner grocer’s personal touch with far greater differentiation, choice, flexibility, channels, convenience, content, and ultimately, value. We’ve come full circle, but to an even better place.

9 – Understand Customer Needs and Wants

ADMA TedRubin

Take a look at how you view your product or service, and how your prospects, and the marketplace, view you. Try to avoid falling into the commodity trap by understanding your customer’s wants, needs and desires precisely. Use that knowledge to position your product or service as a unique value, and make it your mission to educate and build relationships rather than close a sale. When you make it a point NOT to compete on price, but on how well you develop relationships, sales come much more easily and naturally. Isn’t that the ultimate Return on Relationship.

10 – The Problem with Assumptions [Editor’s note: This is my own hobby horse]

Don't Assume

If you want to be successful, then always be challenging your assumptions—break out of the narrow view and be willing to look at things through a different lens. That’s what innovators do. Companies like Apple and Netflix, for example, took ideas that some might have thought were stupid at the time and stepped out of the mainstream. Their leaders took a chance and acted on an idea, and that idea developed wings and took off because they understood their customers’ map of the world. They made it their business to find out what problems, wants, needs and desires their customers have—and developed something that filled those needs.

In other words, they got themselves out of the picture and concentrated on looking at things from their customers’ point of view.

Thank you, and make it a great day!

Ted Rubin
ROR book.library
Ted Rubin’s book, Return on Relationship
Have a question you think I can help with?
Email me here. If I don’t have the answer, I know who to ask!



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