Higher social engagement equals better financial results. That’s the basic conclusion the Wetpaint/Altimeter ”ENGAGEMENTdb | Ranking the Top 100 Global Brands” report reached. With references to correlations to hard Wall Street numbers, this could very well be true.
The debate on the value of social media for businesses is on its death bed. Its successor will have a much longer life, sitting at the table with other marketing channels veterans: TV, radio, print, PR, mail, email and the likes; all for whom ROI calculations methods are still being debated, tangled and clouded by all the confounding factors that make up and affect the precise measurement of any marketing mix.
Take TV advertising, notwithstanding that many argue this veteran itself to be on its way out and without questioning its certain impact, companies are still making billions every year touting they own the secret formulas to figuring out the perfect concoction of dollars, channels and time slots to obtaining a maximum return at the lowest cost.
Along the same lines but with the newbie that social media is, Wetpaint and Altimeter have made quite a smart move in touting there own business with the free release of the ENGAGEMENTdb report. An age old tactic but it does contribute to hastening the last breath of the debate on the business value of social media, an excellent thing in an of itself. The report delivers some excellent insights and raises the REAL question, at least for those of us who have already left the death bed side of the previous debate: “OK, social media is valuable. But how do we use it?” The simple answer is: ENGAGE! ENGAGE! ENGAGE!
Nebulous answer at best, I’ll concede. The difficulty with this concept is that it is very simple and super elusive at the same time. Before social media, the only place where social engagement really mattered was whether it fit on one’s calendar or not. Now, it is a business resource to reckon with and the holly grail in planet social. Elusive for still in its infancy and thus “plagued“ – for it to really succeed its soon to be ancestor – with crippling questions: What is it really?, How is it done? and above all, how is it measured?
The report provides plenty of engagement scores, with Starbucks as company and Media as industry, topping the 100 strong list of companies and among 12 industries. And since money talks, it also correlates financial performances to their engagement score.
To start off, the entire analysis is structured around two main axis: engagement (high to low) and channels involvement (few to many). Out of these 2 beacons and using a simple 4×4 matrix, 4 main groups emerge: the selectives, the mavens, the butterflies and the wallflowers.
Guess whose financial performance correlated best with their social media activity?
Plenty of great insights, specifically best practices and how interestingly exciting it is to see the differences between companies, some for whom the value question debate is alive and well it seems. But kudos to them nonetheless for, as the report very rightly puts it, ”start you must, or risk falling far behind other brands, not only in your industry, but across your customers’ general online experience“.
One grip from me is the publishers evasiveness on describing the exact 40 attributes used to get to the engagement scores. Another secret concoction brewing? But that will be the subject of a separate post.
To download and read the entire report here: ENGAGEMENTdb | Ranking the Top 100 Global Brands Enjoy!