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Removing the Blindfold that Prevents True Engagement and Measurement in Social Media

MarketingProfs recently published a fantastic report on the equality of B2B and B2C adoption and practice of social media. In “The State of Social Media Marketing,” the 242-page report shared how over 5,000 marketers and business professionals use social media to create award winning campaigns, measure ROI, and reach audiences. Jay Baer offers an interesting analysis at Convince and Convert. More of my thoughts on the subject of B2B and B2C social media are shared in my post, “The Business of Social Media.”

One of the more interesting charts shared was a look at company policy as it relates to social media use during business hours.  On average, about 60% of companies polled maintain a “common sense” approach to at-work usage of social media. As MarketingProfs observes however, that an increasing number of companies are banning access to social networks in general.

As Stowe Boyd recently observed:

Management often responds to the adoption of social tools the way that public policy has responded to texting while driving: they make it illegal to be social while working.

The far-sighted response will be to make it easier to gain the benefits of social business, and to rethink the organization and management of work around human nature instead to persisting in trying to ‘rise above’ what makes us people in the first place.

Removing the Blindfold

By all means, you will find the MarketingProfs report interesting. My area of focus, for this post specifically, is on the data shared in two charts specifically. The intent of the graphics was to share the distribution of attention and resources between B2B and B2C organizations across social media channels. The reality is that they also demonstrate a confined view of activity across the entire social web. As a result, most brands concentrate time, energy, and budget on identical social media strategies and tactics…

1. Facebook

2. Twitter

3. LinkedIn

4. YouTube

In 2010, executives will measure ROI and the direct impact of social media marketing on the P&L. In order to do so, management will experience three phases.

The first will reveal that measuring social media marketing, as practiced to date, is essentially meaningless.  Documenting the growth of friends, followers, and fans does not represent loyalty or advocacy. Increased pageviews and clickthroughs doesn’t equate to an increase in revenue, improvement of products and services, nor a reduction or elimination of outdated or inefficient processes.

Second, management will grasp the true cost of social media. In 2010, social media will cease to be free. Twitter will offer commercial services, service vendors will offer more sophisticated sCRM (SRM) solutions that will adapt to the new internal infrastructures that will have to be built in order to scale, and there are very real costs associated with human and intellectual capital. Management will have the prowess in 2010 to measure the cost of a tweet and the expected return on targeted engagement.

Third, as the entire organization socializes affected departments, strategists will embrace a holistic and informed approach to engagement. Audits will become standard in 2010, where each team analyzes relevant activity and conversations using the Conversation Prism or similar map as a guide to exploring all social networks and discussion forums. By documenting the frequency, volume, reach, impact, and state over a period of time, brands will amass the intelligence necessary to prioritize networks while also revealing the influential voices within each community.

As a result, social media marketers will shred the cookie-cutter manual and expand the focus based on real world activity. This is social media marketing with a purpose.

You ask who owns Social Media…your customers, prospects, and influencers define your markets, focus, and attention – where and when they congregate and communicate.

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