Category Archives: social-business-metrics

The roots of social business (short animated presentation)

How do social networks effect the way in which we conduct business?

I’ve had the opportunity to discuss this question with industry experts, academics and (thankfully) students over the last year or so. I’ve boiled the results down into this short presentation on social business:

Key points:

Scaling the conversational nature of business
In the pre-industrial era, business was localized, customized and highly conversational. Think of the way commerce happened in a small village. Stories would be shared over the sale of a loaf of bread at the bakery. Village folk would talk and trade recommendations.

Then came the industrial era and the imperative to realize economies of scales and produce goods for large global markets. The transactional process was optimized for efficiency (think supermarket checkout lines).

Social networking has brought back the potential for business processes to become more conversational, albeit on a larger scale to what was previously possible.

More customer-focused business
In the field of marketing and communications, we’re seeing chinks in the traditional broadcast model that was ushered in by the rise of mass media. The idea that it is the role of the company to create messages and broadcast those out with the intent of creating demand is being challenged.

Social media are creating forums for discussion with open dialogue occurring between companies (theoretically any employee), prospects and customers.

Increased workforce productivity
Social networking within the enterprise allows for the freer flow of knowledge across teams and departments leading to less information silos and more efficient internal processes for instance by allowing expertise to be more effectively sourced.

The pivotal role of analytics
Social analytics is necessary to uncover the business value of using social networking. This applies at many different levels across the whole enterprise. For instance, monitoring customer feedback following a product launch, determining which employees are the most effective networkers or helping key influencers extend their reach.

Look for further videos in this series which will look more specifically at how social networking is transforming different areas of business.

More introductory information on the nature of social business:

Resources from the MIT Sloan School of Business

Forrester blog posts on social business

IBM on social business

Dachis Group on social business



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