One of the social media marketing buzzwords floating around is “return on investment.” (ROI) This is a metric, a measurement, of how “worthwhile” your social media efforts were.
The problem is, when quantifying, you can’t take into consideration the depth of a networking connection–only things like how many times a post was viewed, tweeted, or commented on. It’s hard to reduce human connection down to numbers, but many marketing experts make an art and science of it.
Even the term itself is scientific. I guess since social media takes time, and time is money, it is an investment. But that implies that your followers and their messages to you are some sort of currency, which defeats the whole purpose of SOCIAL media, doesn’t it?
Then came Ted Ruben, who coined the phrase “Return on Relationship.” (ROR) This change in wording brings a whole paradigm shift. It’s not about how many followers you have so much as it is the relationship you build with them.
To increase your ROI, you employ techniques like catchy headlines, tweet blasts, hashtag abuse, and, for some, what borders on spamming followers–because it’s all about the bottom line of “how many people can see my message.” It’s a lot of talking into the empty air of cyberspace.
ROR focuses on something more important: how many people will READ my message, and, more importantly, how many will ACT on it? To increase your ROR, Ruben suggests that you listen, focus on meeting the needs and desires of your audience, engage with them in the long-term (not just long enough to get a single comment), and, above all, knowing your audience.
Genius, I say. To learn more about ROR and meet some awesome tweeters who are all about it, follow the #RonR hashtag, @tedruben, or read his blog at http://www.tedrubin.com/