There is no doubt that figuring out your return on investment is an important part of determining where to put your marketing dollars. If you’re not getting tangible, immediate results, why spend the money, right?

Not so fast. Marketers now consider the long-term benefit of digital marketing—the relationships acquired and maintained through social-media networks. Social media and digital marketing ROI needs to account for these benefits.

For example, the likelihood of having a client see you on Facebook, click a link to your website and become a paying client on the spot is pretty low. However, once she sees that you are a leader and an expert in your industry, you can begin to cultivate trust.

This can lead to a call or meeting at a later date. Social media is uniquely suited that slower, relationship-approach to selling.

Know your audience. It’s crucial to know your audience and understand why they would want to “follow” a company on social media. Ask yourself what matters most to them? Are they concerned about outliving their retirement income? Or paying for their kids’ college education? If you truly know your audience, you can provide valuable content and insight.

Listen to what your audience is saying. Don’t just put out all kinds of content without listening. Make sure you are responding when people have concerns or questions or would like more information. You can even take it one step further.

When people connect with you via LinkedIn, thank them for reaching out and offer to answer their questions over the phone.

Don’t oversell. People don’t want to be bombarded with sales-y posts when they are trying to catch up on Twitter. So make it a point to limit sales talk on social media. Use the 80/20 rule as a guide—80 percent valuable content and 20 percent information about your firm, products or services.

When you take the time to let your audience know you care by listening, responding and providing thoughtful content, you develop relationships which can prove invaluable.

Get to know your current and prospective clients and they will become more than just fans and followers but brand evangelists.

Over time, you will see your ROR (return on relationships) boost your bottom line.

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