This picture shows very clearly that the biggest values are achieved only after integrating the social media into the whole business. Mark Smiciklas writes:
“As your brand moves along this axis towards integration and, possibly, a social business model, value SHOULD increase.”
“Value will vary based on an organization’s definition. This may take the form of a tangible sales contribution, cost savings, service improvements or efficiencies related to internal communication, consumer advocacy, etc.”
“Value is predicated on the willingness and ability of a business to connect social media metrics to the achievement of organizational objectives. Without goals, analytics or a pattern of correlation, the value axis is assumptive at best.”
The last sentence is the most important: value is created by connecting social media to organizational objectives.
Some companies proudly inform us about achieving the objective of 1.000 or 10.000 fans on Facebook. Is this a good objective or not? The answer is that it depends on the business and what you are measuring.
For those organizations that are, for example, aiming at increasing the market share in certain area by 20%, this is a good objective. They want to get more traffic from social media services to their web site, and have perhaps calculated that by increasing the Facebook fan amount in this area from 500 to 1.000 the objective will be better reached.
But what if your objective is to make the existing customers more satisfied with your service, can it be measured with 1.000 fans? I doubt that. In this case, you can support the objective for example by creating a closed LinkedIn Group for your key customers where they can discuss with you and with each other about business problems and how they could be solved with your products or services. In this case, a more proper way of measuring could be to measure customer satisfaction before and after launching this kind of VIP customer community.
Amber Naslund (@ambercadabra) from Radian6 says it well in her blog post How to create measurable objectives:
“If your goal is better customer service, you measure things that indicate customer satisfaction like reviews, sentiment, positive comments/feedback, decreased “incident” reports from the call center. If your goal is brand awareness, you measure things like website traffic, share of conversation, media placements, volume of online chatter, or even standard market survey results.”
Tac Anderson (@tacanderson) asks what are the most social media strategies missing, and the answer is:
“They are missing organizational alignment with the overall communications strategy which is often not in full alignment with the business strategy to begin with.”
What organizations can do to connect social media with business objectives? I suggest identifying the business objects and discussing with your people how social media can support these objectives or can it perhaps create new ways to do business. After this discussion, it is time to create metrics for measuring social media – such metrics that are connected with your business.
In the end, some public crowdsourcing: If you know academic papers related to this theme, please leave a comment about it – thanks!