Measuring social business ROI: results from an IBM Jam

In February this year, IBM hosted a Jam (a 72-hour online forum with participation from IBM and beyond) on the topic of Social Business.

In case you’re not familiar with the term Social Business, here is definition I hear a lot in IBM corridors:

1: a business that embraces networks of people to create business value 
2: a business that is engaged, transparent, and nimble

This goes beyond social media, which is largely the domain of marketing/comms departments to touch on the very fabric of the enterprise, including internal collaboration and social networking with partners and suppliers.

As is the case with just about any discussion around Social Business, the thorny issue of ROI came up. How do you measure the value of this undertaking?

These are some of the metrics Jam participants suggested:

  • How often the brand is mentioned in social media (marketing/support/product management)
  • How engaged customers are by how often they comment on or share information about the brand (account management/customer support)
  • How many customers are being exposed to messaging (marketing/support)
  • How many customers are active advocates for the brand (support/account management)
  • How the efforts of these advocates are resulting in new customers or increased traffic (account management/marketing)
  • How many issues are being successfully resolved—and how quickly (support)
  • How satisfied customers are and what kind of feedback they are providing (support/account management)

I’ve added in parentheses the departments that have a major stake in those metrics. As you can see, this goes way beyond customer acquisition and the normal domain of marketing/communications. Bottom line: social business monitoring goes way beyond tracking Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers.

Are there key metrics you think should be added to the list? I’d love to hear!

Read more on the Social Business Jam (pdf)

Read more about Social Business