It’s not (just) about the ‘Like’ — it’s the Return on Relationship

Last Monday offered us the chance to spare a thought for the poor souls who spend their days veering between vilification and rejection, often overworked and underpaid, yet ‘one of the most powerful groups on the internet’ according to Marketwire – yes, it was Community Management Appreciation Day.

So why are they so overlooked when they sit at the front line of a business, controlling millions of interactions on the largest and fastest growing communication channels of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest? If that’s not enough they have to liaise with nearly every department – from marketing to customer service and product to HR.

The simple answer is businesses underestimate the power of relationships. Social media is now business critical, it can create, foster and sustain more personal relationships with your consumers. But Facebook’s Edgerank, increased mobile usage and growth in social commerce means success now is not a vague display of preference (or as Facebook call it a ‘Like’) but rather a committed value exchange – as Ted Rubin calls it a ‘Return on Relationship’.

At the heart of this value exchange is content – it creates sustainable relationships with the end user, it marries utility and delight, it can be playful, involving and charming. Creating great content isn’t easy – it requires data mining, intuition and creative thinking – in essence using logic to create magic.

Social data offers the richest and most relevant information marketers have ever had. It can drive qualitative and quantitative insight and provide a multitude of logical leads and even answer that eternal question – What do consumers really want?

Creating magic in social can be boundless. From tone of voice – checkout Betfair Poker’s Twitter account. To agile proactive initiatives like Bodyform’s witty spoof video response to a boyfriend bemoaning period adverts. Brands like Red Bull and Ikea are the masters of bringing their properties to life using content as a perfect ongoing reminder of why they should ‘like’, ‘follow’ or ideally buy them!

So this year lets focus on the power of relationships and not settle for ‘likes’ but focus on the power of (brand) ‘love’.