Joining Collective Bias as Chief Social Marketing Officer…

I’ve been working in digital marketing since 1997, and each year I believe more strongly in the power of relationships for effectively connecting brands with consumers.   Back then, I never could have imagined the incredible connection-building possibilities provided by social media, but I am enjoying witnessing the world-wide adoption of social media as a viable business tool!   There’s no place I’d rather be than in the middle of this shift, and am pleased to have the opportunity to share my expertise with and learn from the team at Collective Bias as their Chief Social Marketing Officer. This is very exciting and something John Andrews, the founder of Collective Bias, and I have talked about for a long time.

I love the blogging community because when it comes down to it, they genuinely want to share useful information, and to connect people to information and products.   That really hit home for me when I was CMO of e.l.f. Cosmetics (Eyes Lips Face) from 2008-2010.  I pioneered a program to develop and utilize blogger relationships to exponentially increase and sustain the e.l.f. brand visibility, and because of the blogger energy, talent, and networks,  the program at e.l.f. brand evolved and succeeded with a unique approach toward not just beauty, but also accessibility, interactivity and consumer engagement.   At that time, the jury was still out on the business value of social media, but the success of this program confirmed for e.l.f. (and other previously skeptical businesses), that building relationships with consumers not only enhances the long-term viability of the brand, but has a direct short-term effect on the bottom line.

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Q&A: How to drive measurable ROI from social media NOW

Courtney Velasquez, Social Fabric Community Director, interviewed John Andrews, Collective Bias (CB) Founder/CEO, and Ted Rubin and Dave Henry of the CB Board of Advisors to understand how brands and retailers can measure social media ROI, engage in shopper listening and receive shopper feedback. Originally posted at

1. How can brands drive measurable ROI from social media now?

John: This is such an important question! ROI is usually addressed from a longer-term perspective, and with the immediacy of social media interactions (and exponential growth and adoption), we really do need to see measurable ROI in the shorter term.

Ted: Social media is so popular and effective as a marketing tool because it focuses on the customer experience instead of just throwing an advertisement at them and hoping the impression will stick. The key, then, to driving measurable ROI is in customers’ shopping experience. JUST by listening to what shoppers want, you can improve their shopping experience (e.g. in-stock position, proper assortment, promotion placement, etc.) and grow your sales by a measurable effect immediately. Be a socially-focused organization.

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Return on Relationship: The New Measure of Success

Social media is quickly becoming a way of life… and a way of business as more and more companies are realizing they need to integrate social media into their marketing strategies.  We can’t, however, expect to do “business as usual” and succeed in building an eager audience around our brands.

If you want to continue to reach your market in this social media age, the marketing focus needs to be on building relationships, and metrics need to expand beyond ROI (Return on Investment) to include ROR: Return on Relationship.

Most measurements and empowerment stats that are used with regard to relationships (i.e. number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, retweets, site visits, video views, positive ratings and vibrant communities) are not financial assets, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless.  Instead, these are leading indicators that a brand is doing something that is creating value that will be with you for the long term and will drive ROI if developed and used effectively.

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Build Relationships, Not Billboards!

The marketing paradigm is shifting with much greater “power to the people” facilitated by social media.  If you want to continue to reach your market, it’s not about advertising any more, but about building relationships.

Consider the following differences:

Advertising Building Relationships
1.     Telling

2.     Starts with “me” (the brand, the product, the service)

3.     Focuses on “what can you give me?

4.     Goal:  instant impact

5.     Where’s the money?

1.     Listening, hearing, empathizing, asking,

2.     Starts with “you” (the customer’s needs, wants, interests and expectations)

3.     Focuses on “how can I serve you?

4.     Goal: ongoing engagement

5.     Who are the people?

1. Telling vs. Listening

It may sound counterintuitive, but if you truly want to be heard above the growing social media “noise,” you need to listen.  Listen to what your consumers and potential consumers are saying before you even put one word out there:  What are they saying, what are they feeling, what are their pain points, what solutions do they need?   Then when you do “speak” (type), empathize with them and ask them questions.

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Brand Advocates are People Too… Nurture that Relationship!

It is true that Brand Advocates have value in part due to the reach of their relationships within and across their social networks.  When they encourage their friends and colleagues to buy our products, our brand’s buying power increases exponentially, and it simply makes good business sense to leverage those opportunities.

The risk here is that we can become so focused on our Brand Advocates’ social reach that we see them only as a means to an end (sales) and stop seeing them as people.  We might get greedy and start looking right past them to market directly to their networks, ignoring our Advocates themselves.  While that marketing method can still be somewhat teffective, it costs more, it is more difficult to implement and maintain, and it is dangerous to our brand.  We cannot de-value our Advocates and expect our brands to thrive!

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Innovative Use of Traditional Metrics

Here’s an interesting concept: using traditional measurement tactics to determine the success of non-traditional (social media) marketing.

At first, it sounds as though this goes against my persistent encouragement for companies to measure the Return on Relationship rather than just the standard Return on Investment, but actually it doesn’t.

In his July 19 blog post entitled “The ROI of Social Media Marketing: More Than Dollars and Cents”, Forrester blogger Augie Ray introduces the Social Media Marketing Balanced Scoreboard. The key word here is balanced. Although he still uses the phrase “Return on Investment,” what he’s writing is actually about much more than the standard notion of return on financial investment only.

Ray writes, “Facebook fans, retweets, site visits, video views, positive ratings and vibrant communities are not 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 the brand is doing something to create value that can lead to financial results in the future.” In other words, ROR – Return on Relationship!

This Social Media Marketing Balanced Scorecard encourages “interactive marketers” to measure success across four areas:

  • Financial
  • Brand
  • Risk Management
  • Digital

Notice that the scorecard doesn’t measure only financial success – nor does it measure only brand success. Both are included here.

Bottom line? While we social media marketers tend to be all about innovation, there is still room for some things traditional – when used deliberately and wisely!

Ted Rubin

What is the true value of a Facebook to a Marketer/Brand

I believe many are looking at this in too narrow a fashion. Everyone is trying to assign a dollar value to a Facebook fan or Twitter follower instead of addressing the fact that it is the engagement and interaction that takes place in these mediums that is incredibly important to a brand.

Building a relationship with existing and future customers is the true value and strength of social media/marketing. ROI is certainly incredibly important whenever investing, but companies have to start looking at ROR, Return on Relationship, when planning, strategizing and most importantly evaluating social marketing.

A new study shows that those who are fans or followers of a brand on Facebook or Twitter, respectively, are significantly more likely to buy products and services or recommend the brand to a friend.

Specifically, the study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, and 51% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Facebook. Moreover, they’re 79% more likely to recommend their Twitter follows to a friend, and 60% more likely to do the same on Facebook.

Welcome to the “Age of Influence,” where anyone can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships and make a difference.

Ted Rubin