There is no doubt that there is a profound interest in the social web. On the consumer side, social applications allow us to connect with friends, acquaintances, celebrities, politicians and anyone else we find “interesting”. It can help us organise our lives, share our knowledge or expertise and, if we are lucky, find a life partner. The opportunities are endless.
Marketers can often see that these loosely formed, often organic, communities represent a great opportunity – for sales, marketing, brand building, customer service, market research and so on. Some may even see that the opportunity extends well beyond these categories – to other areas of their business. But it can really be a struggle to place a VALUE on this – partly because the plethora of what can be described as “social media channels”, from YouTube to blogs and beyond each have different engagement characteristics and therefore represent different value propositions.
This report by Altimeter and WetPaint attempts to define and measure the impact that social media has on some of the world’s leading brands. It takes BusinessWeek’s top 100 brands and analyses their position in terms of social media engagement, providing scores, relative positions and explanations. The report showcases the efforts of Starbucks, Toyota, Dell and SAP (where I work).
One of the most exciting parts of this report is the finding that high levels of social media engagement correlates with stronger financial performance:
Back to the million-dollar question: Why do social media? We finally have a good answer: Because it pays off. While no one yet has the data to determine direct cause and effect, what we do find is a financial correlation between those who are deeply engaged and those who outperform their peers.
It is well worth reading the report in full to learn what some of the world’s leading companies are doing right, where the best practices lie, and understand how these are impacting the business across key indicators.
And, of course, the question remains … what are YOU and your business doing in social media? What’s your strategy? And how are you finding and measuring value in the process?