Social Business is not Dead: New charts and data reveal the real evolution of social businesses

In recent times, I’ve noticed a rise in discussions around the “death of social business” and also an increase in alternative “fill in the blank but don’t use the word social” businesses. Some of those discussions have been hosted here recently. There’s strong merit to the discussions of course, especially those I’ve hosted (be sure to read the comments). But as an analyst tracking the evolution of social businesses and equally the cause and effect of digital transformation overall, I’m learning that the most advanced organizations see social not as a technology movement but instead one of culture and philosophy. Openness, collaboration, transparency, communication…these aren’t buzz words. Among those leading change, these words represent a way of business and it all starts with vision and the ability to see how relationships and experiences with customers and employees can improve or accomplish new and greater goals.

Along the way, I’ve also learned that pushing for social adoption because of technology misses the point of change. The true catalyst isn’t whatever the latest trend in social media is this week. That’s reactive and almost impossible to leapfrog. The truth is that change is fueled by the affect that social media, mobile, and other forms of disruptive technologies have on customer behavior. Whether it’s B2B, B2C, B2B2C, or whatever model you prefer, as long as we’re talking about connected human beings, you can bet that social and digital in general are influencing discovery, decision-making, and impressions in every moment of truth.

The evolution of social business as we know it today traces back to The Cluetrain Manifesto in the late 1990s, where its authors predicted that markets would become conversations. Here we are at the cusp of 2014, and businesses, and the strategists who lead social efforts, continue to struggle with sparking executive understanding, adoption, and leadership. The real story is about what’s happening beneath all that we see or think we see.

So what’s obstructing the evolution of social business?

Part of the problem is that social media and how it differs from traditional channels remains largely misconstrued. As a result, new opportunities, and the strategies, systems, and processes that support them, are either nascent or overlooked.

A social business is more than an organization that invests in a positive global footprint to overcome the world’s biggest problems, such as inequality and poverty. The term has developed to now also represent companies that are more open, transparent, and participatory in conversations and activity that defines markets. But the challenge is that social media strategists may actually be hampering its potential by not helping executives see the bigger picture beyond the technology.

Last month, Charlene Li and I published our latest Altimeter Group report, “The State of Social Business 2013.” In our research, we were surprised that businesses were still unsure of the role social media played enterprise-wide, beyond marketing and communications. Many, we found, were limited in scope and not universal in engagement with customers, employees, suppliers, partners, community, et al. Specifically, we learned that…

– Only half (52%) of companies say that their executives are informed, engaged, and aligned with the enterprise social strategy

– A mere 26% of organizations self-describe as being “holistic” in their social media approach, where business functions operate against an enterprise-level vision and strategy

– Just 17% of organizations self-described as being truly “strategic” in the execution of their social strategies

This month, Charlene and I are releasing the data charts from our latest report, plus additional material, to help strategists learn how to amplify or accelerate their social business strategy. The charts are available as stand-alone images on Flickr or as a complete deck via Slideshare. As always, this information is made available freely as part of Altimeter’s open research program. Please feel free to use the images or slides at work, in posts, on stage, or whichever way that helps you make a point or case.

Along with highlighting major issues (and opportunities) through this survey data, the presentation includes perspectives and inspirational quotes from executives and strategists at Sephora, Adobe, ARAMARK, Ford, Fidelity, Royal Dutch Shell, Wells Fargo among others.

We hope that you’ll find the slides in this presentation useful as resource and background material, as you continue to make your business case for social business.

[Source: Brian Solis]

The Social Media ROI Cookbook: Six Ingredients Top Brands Use to Measure the Revenue Impact of Social Media

Today, customers move constantly between the online and offline worlds, using a range of devices — such as smartphones and tablets — that didn’t exist a few short years ago. Thousands of applications and dozens of social media platforms collect and transmit an unprecedented amount of structured and unstructured data, and API changes are a fact of life. The volatility of social data and the pace of change mean that tried-and-true measurement methods are no longer enough. Social data is different. The old rules don’t apply.

Although many organizations have established formalized social media programs, the vast majority — 75% — still lack a holistic measurement strategy. Web analytics; social media monitoring; social platforms; and tool, application, and ecommerce providers have rushed to fill the gaps, while analysts at brands and agencies have borrowed accepted methodologies from adjacent disciplines to address the unique challenges and pitfalls of social data.

As social media matures, new approaches to social media measurement will emerge to provide businesses with a greater level of insight, but the days of certainty (if ever they existed) are behind us. As George E. P. Box, a noted statistician, famously said, “Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful.”

In our research for this report, Altimeter Group identified six primary qualitative and quantitative approaches and developed three case studies that illustrate how organizations measure the impact of social media on revenue. But while these six ingredients are consistent, the emphasis each company places on them depends on the nature of their business. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. The following pages aim to identify and describe — based on business, product, media, and customer type — the most effective “recipes” for measuring the revenue impact of social media that we have seen adopted to date.

[Source: Altimeter Group]

Italian Version, thanks to @wearesocial [link]

Qual è il ROI di indossare i pantaloni al mattino?

Qualche anno fa Scott Monty (ora Head of Social Media di Ford Motor Company) ha risposto con questa provocazione all’ennesima domanda “Qual è il ROI dei social media?”: è possibile misurare il valore delle attività sul social web, ma esiste anche un valore intrinseco, dato dal costo opportunità di non partecipare alla conversazione. In altre parole, è importantissimo misurare il ritorno sull’investimento, ma per le marche è indispensabile considerare come le persone siano presenti su questi canali e come desiderino relazionarsi con i brand.

Ci sono molti approcci validi alla misurazione del ritorno sull’investimento per le attività di conversazione, da tarare attentamente a seconda del target, degli obiettivi e della strategia del brand. Ieri Altimeter Group ha pubblicato un report molto interessante, che vi suggeriamo di leggere interamente, in cui raccoglie e schematizza diversi approcci alla misurazione in un’unica overview.

Secondo la ricerca “The Social Media ROI cookbook” ci sono sei modi di misurare l’impatto dei social media sulle revenue:

  • Casi specifici: individuare situazioni specifiche (tattiche) in cui i social media hanno fatto la differenza per la marca;
  • Correlazione: trovare un matching tra metriche più legate ai canali social (come l’engagement) e metriche di business;
  • Test multivariato: confrontare un gruppo a campione esposto all’attività social con uno non esposto e individuare gli impatti dell’azione;
  • Link e tagging: misurare la diffusione dei contenuti utilizzando entry point misurabili;
  • Integrato: raccogliere informazioni sui risultati attraverso software dedicati;
  • Direct commerce: integrare gli elementi di eCommerce misurabili in un contesto social;

Six Ways of Measuring Revenue Impact of Social Media

Molto interessante anche la procedura suggerita per individuare le metriche giuste per il singolo brand:

  1. Identificare il tipo di busines (canali di vendita, media utilizzati, mercato di riferimento, cultura);
  2. Definire il tipo di offerta (prodotto vs servizio, ciclo di vita lungo vs breve, percorso del consumatore lungo vs breve);
  3. Evidenziare i fattori nel media mix (paid media, owned media, earned e shared media);
  4. Studiare il profilo demografico, psicografico e sociografico del target;

Decision Matrix - Assessing the Measurement Mix That's Right for You

Questa analisi preliminare fornisce gli elementi più importanti per la ricerca di metriche che permettono di individuare il ritorno sull’investimento. L’evoluzione dal giorno della dichiarazione di Scott Monty è stata notevole e questo report è un utilissimo punto della situazione, per definire il ROI della conversazione.

Rimane da definire con più precisione il ROI di indossare i pantaloni al mattino, ma ci arriveremo presto.