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Is measurement the key to unlocking value from social media?

The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s head of insights, Thomas Brown, invited us to the launch of the latest wave of their Social Media Benchmark yesterday. We attempted to provide as much commentary as we could on our Twitter feed, and now we’ve had chance to think on some of the findings (see infographic below), we think there are some interesting take outs.

Marketers see the potential and are investing, but aren’t getting impact or value

According to the study, B2C and B2B companies alike are investing in social media in order to support their marketing campaigns, and plan to significantly increase their activity in 2012. That said, whilst half of the marketers surveyed say they see the potential of social to help their businesses grow, only a third say their senior management understand why they’re using it and only 9% say they’re getting as much value from social as they can.

In-house competency and capability falls short

Only 2% of marketers surveyed consider their in-house skills and competencies to leverage and manage social media effectively to be “optimal”, whilst 11% consider themselves “ill-equipped”. Only a small minority said they had significant strengths in key areas of digital capability, with digital leadership and measurement capability the biggest areas of weakness. To address this ‘capability gap’, marketers look set to invest in education and training rather than recruiting in digital capability or outsourcing to specialist social media agencies.

Blissful unawareness of legislation

As we have already seen in practice, marketers seem unaware of some of the new (and even old) legislation affecting their use of social media. The CIM study found that of the half of businesses that collect data from social media, less than a third are sure their doing so complies with regulation. Aside from the Data Protection Act 1998, there is a very low understanding of other regulations. A staggering 42% of marketers say they have a very low understanding of the CAP Code 2010. Perhaps the Advertising Standards Authority ruling this week will change that. If not, the ASA still has a lot of work to do.

If only we had the time and money…

Ask marketers about the barriers to doing anything and give them the options of not enough time and not enough money and guess what they’ll choose? So no real surprise that respondents to the CIM survey cite lack of budget and pressures on management time as the biggest roadblocks to improving in-house capability, using social media monitoring and measurement, and getting more value from social media. But are these excuses rather than barriers?

Measurement matters

The findings around monitoring and measurement are quite revealing, especially when you consider that 50% of marketers strongly agreed that social media poses a significant reputation risk if left unmonitored and unmanaged:

  • Less than a fifth rate their in-house analytical and measurement capabilities as a significant strength;
  • Only 4% are extensively using some kind of sentiment analysis tools;
  • Almost half lack the time or budget to purchase any tools;
  • Luckily only 8% don’t see the value in monitoring/measurement.

There’s a problem though.

Beyond the time and money issues, around a quarter of marketers say that their inability to measure is a significant barrier to getting more value from social media over the next year.

I guess that’s either low or high depending on your viewpoint. As one delegate put it:

In summary

It seems to us that, yet again, the crux of the issue is measurement. One has to wonder if, by using measurement as part of the planning process to determine the best strategy, track progress consistently and demonstrate business value, marketers might just be able to justify the investment and resource needed to overcome the time and money barriers.

Infographic below. Keep an eye on the CIM Social Media Benchmark website for the detailed results.

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Did the Internet get it wrong in Iowa? [Infographic]

Our analysis earlier this week described Iowa as the first truly ‘social’ primary in this year’s Presidential race. But – along with other studies – indications about voting intention based on analysis of the candidates’ social media performance proved premature. Whilst the candidate’s social profiles certainly are very different, it’s still not clear how this figures into the merry mix of political marketing techniques.

The infographic below compares each candidate’s share of the vote and some of the key social media metrics published in the weeks leading up to 3 January and concludes that the winner in terms of predicting the result in Iowa was…

…the mainstream news media. Maybe the professionals know a thing or two after all?

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PRINT™ links brand value to social media performance

Today, we’re launching a solution to some of the more common questions marketers and social media strategists are asking of their organisations’ social media performance:

  • Does our brand’s social footprint add value?
  • Can this be defined and measured in a meaningful way?
  • How can we use this information to make improvements?

We, like many of our clients, have been frustrated by the lack of a practical set of metrics, or even a common measurement framework. The tools we found were too narrow in scope, too vague in their outputs or simply too expensive.

So we set out to develop our own methodology and it is launched today.

It is called PRINT™ because it measures social footprint based on five attributes – popularity, receptiveness, interaction, network reach and trust. We think it has the potential to become a valuable KPI for marketers and social media strategists because it allows brands to compare their social media performance directly with other chosen brands, across multiple channels. And the output is a set of specific actionable insights.

Above all, unlike other public measures of ‘influence’ (e.g. Klout, PeerIndex, etc.)  PRINT™ correlates closely with established measures for brand value and growth from respected sources like Millward Brown (BrandZ) and Interbrand.

It comes in three flavours:

  1. PRINT™ Benchmark – a one-off report for £950 (US $1,500)
  2. PRINT™ Annual – a one-off report plus 2 updates over the course of a year for £1,800 (US $2,900)
  3. PRINT™ Tracker – a one-off report plus 11 monthly updates for £4,250 (US $6,800)

There’s more information about PRINT™ available on our site – including a sample scorecard, insight charts, FAQs and a summary of our investigation into the link between the PRINT™ Index and brand value/growth.

If you like what you see, please share it. If you’d like to become a customer, go straight here.

We’re already applying the PRINT™ solution to our own clients, but we’re also keen to investigate different sectors too. So watch out for the Sociagility Social Top 50, our list of the top global brands ranked using PRINT™.

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(Funny) Infographics about Infographics

The best designers in the world cannot help but critique every single bit of design they see – from the cereal box at breakfast to the restaurant menu in the evening. It drives our families mad (I speak from first hand experience!). And so, with infographics being thrust on us left, right and centre, I couldn’t help but nod knowingly (and slightly smugly) at these wonderfully witty infographics about infographics.

Phil Gyford’s “Infographic”

Ivan Cash’s Infographic of Infographics

Think Brilliant’s Intimate Look at Infographics

Zabisco’s Infographic of Infographics

Alberto Antoniazzi’s Most Popular Infographics (my personal favourite)

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5 Essential Social Business Infographics

Update: I’ve been challenged by Jon Husband in the comments on the number of infographics required for a “round up”, so have changed the title and am adding more as I come across them.

Like it or loathe it, the term ‘social business’ looks like it’s here to stay – if judged by the increasing number of infographics appearing online. So I thought it would be worth rounding them up and picking out the most salient points. Here goes…

#1: Social Business Imperative – Michael Brito (May 2011)

Not your traditional infographic, this one, but more an aggregation of philosophies and key data points in the form of “A playbook for social media in your organisation”, mainly to promote Michael’s book Smart Business, Social Business. You get some good stuff from Altimeter Group at the end in return for a sore scrolling finger, but can’t help think that this would have been better as a PDF. Infographics shouldn’t have this much text IMHO, but slap the word ‘infographic’ on anything these days and it’ll get noticed.

#2: Let’s Get Down to Social Business – Get Satisfaction (August 2011)

OK, this is more like it. Bringing together data from a number of sources, Get Satisfaction created a nice infographic looking at the demand for social business, key industries already engaged and specific internal and external strategies being focused on in 2011.

#3: Execs Make Jump to Social – Jive Software (June 2011)

This is possibly my favourite, as it employs the infographic format at what it’s good at – visualising complex data in an easy-digestable way. The basis for Jive’s infographic is data from a survey of executives, millenials and knowledge workers that they had commissioned, and it tells a believable story: as personal use of social media grows, the more professional it becomes. I particularly like the final conclusion that even though personal and professional usage increase and almost three quarters of executives think that social will fundamentally change how business gets done, only 17% of them think that their company is “ahead of the curve” in terms of adoption.

#4: Social Media and your Business Communication Strategy – Socialcast (July 2011)

I like the focus on the different kinds of outcomes that companies can achieve from social media in this infographic from Socialcast. The most informative data from The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachussetts Darmouth comparing the success of different platforms to the importance of social media is looking a bit dated now though. Any chance of a refresh, Socialcast?

#5: Calculating the Return on Investment of Enterprise Social Software – Socialcast (again) (November 2010)

I wonder if it was Socialcast’s infographics that attracted VMware to acquire them? Anyway, here’s another nice one on the prequel to social business, ‘enterprise 2.0′ (what the rest of us called it before the Dachis Group came along!). I really like this one because it answers three simple (and pretty important) questions: what happens to ROI when you do x; why is it important; and how do you measure it. Nice work.

 

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Seeing is connecting

Congrats to the Commetric team for their new site, which visualises the people and brands getting prominence in formal and social media at Cannes Lions.

Check out the visual discovery video (below) for nice background as to why visualisations are a powerful way to make sense of the huge amount of info on the web, 80% plus of which is still unstructured.

As a co-founder of Commetric while at Hill & Knowlton and a minority shareholder today I am of course biased, but I think the maps look great.

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