Social Media Delivering Measurable Business Impact

The social media revolution is here. For social businesses, social media isn’t simply another marketing channel, it’s a pathway to build digital capacity and capability which can contribute significantly to organic growth.

Social businesses are those that innovate to extract the full value of social media technology platforms. They harness the capabilities of social media for core business operations and step beyond marketing to personalised engagement, customer service, collaboration building and enhancing innovation capability.

So how do these businesses properly operationalise social business for value creation?

They create a positive experience for Luddite executive

An executive’s knee-jerk reaction to social media adoption almost always leads to a faltering commitment when they;

  1. do something stupid
  2. don’t have a strategy so look aimless and fail to generate value
  3. focus on top line statistics rather than quality and value generation (seeing social as a purpose in itself, rather than a path to somewhere).

To avoid these pitfalls an enterprise needs to invest in business support systems for the Luddite executive transition to social media.

Invest in business support systems

If an executive is forced to participate in social media without understanding the fundamental rules of engagement and how they relate to their business, the negative impact on reputation could be significant.

sbFlourish helps our clients to first listen to what people are taking the time to talk about on social media so they can join the dots.

Social media listeners benefit in three ways

  1. Social media success is born from the desire to engage in conversation which requires people and brands to influence with integrity.
  2. They also need to inject their narrative into existing conversations, not always expecting to lead conversations. Without the proper business support system in place, people tend to slip back into the mode of broadcasting information on social media from the top down.
  3. This is exactly where they fail to generate value and consistently miss the sweet spot that will amplify the message on social, outside their owned channels, to drive earned mentions.

Traditionally executives have been mostly concerned with a simple Net Promoter Score (NPS) and other survey data on their existing customers. However, social media mentions aren’t quite as simple as a single score. It’s much broader and includes positive and negative mentions of interest from current customers, but also ex-customers, non-customers, competitors, media and other collaborative networks which are all active and measurable 24x7x365.

The good news for executives is there are shortcuts (without cutting corners). Social media listening tools provide analytics and insights on the social sphere. These tools provide our clients with a better understanding of how to build their online presence and exchange value with participants in the context of competitor activity and wider trends.

Social media listening dashboards

sbFlourish helps clients make sense of the social bazaar by creating queries to measure and track online mentions around brands, topics and hashtag conversations on specific channels, and by specific people.

We use this big data analysis to deliver business insights about strategic capabilities, opportunities and gaps that mentions data can represent.

The dashboards can also provide an alert as to when a conversation is happening around specific mentions. Dashboards make it easy to dive into the analytics of a conversation to see what and who is driving it, where the content lives, helping clients to more efficiently spot quality opportunities for value generation. Sentiment analysis also flags negative mentions so clients are aware of and can anticipate the need to develop a strategy to proactively manage issues.

It’s important that when stuff-ups do happen, executive can respond quickly and have a plan in place for when a crisis occurs. Learning how to successfully engage with the social sphere in an authentic, personable way, while still maintaining a positive brand image and the integrity of the company, is a challenge. Business support systems like social media listening help executives to influence with confidence which is far more engaging for participants than scared social.

Beware of being focused on top line numbers to achieve online presence  

Executives often focus on the top line statistics in social like the number of followers or connections to achieve online presence rather than quality and value generation.

Personal branding

A social media listening report on The Best CMOs on Twitter provides evidence value is created by a targeted strategy rather than top line numbers. Anne Lewnes, Adobe’s CMO lead the index despite having the fourth lowest number of followers in the sample. Although an increase in Tweets is correlated to more followers the report clearly highlights the quantity of owned Tweets doesn’t seem to have an effect on a number of retweets or @mentions.

An interview with social media maven Guy Kawasaki on #socialhangout this week also focused on quality presence. Guy told Twitter fans that he recently unfollowed everyone on his profile, preferring only to follow people who engage with him through @mentions. He also explained that he rarely looked at his timeline, instead focusing on @mentions to measure content success and find good conversation.

Brands social index

Brands need to benchmark several indicators including social visibility, net sentiment, engagement and content, reach growth and general visibility.  This social index ranking brands across twenty-seven industries is a fun interactive big data analysis of millions of conversations, revealing which brands are leading online.

Focus on value strategy

Online mentions are the sum of a company’s reputation including its capabilities, values and performance in the context of competitors and wider trends. Executives can play an important role in the makeup of their company’s mentions and lead social employees through the development of their own personal brand online, their contribution to the company’s online presence, and the delivery of products and services. Companies big and small are increasingly understanding the value of employee engagement and social media will play a significant role.  Business support systems for success are available and should be put in place to help social media engagement add business value and build capacity and capability pathways now and into the future.

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