The State of Social Media Marketing in 2012 from Awareness

Awareness, makers of social media software, released their 38-page 2012 State of Social Media Marketing report this week.  The report is based on surveys from over 320 marketers from a cross section of industries, company sizes and social media experience.

The three key watchwords from the report are presence, frequency and processes.  Other priorities include more robust social media management, more social media presence and mobile.

Awareness - Key Findings from State of Social Media Marketing

Key Findings from the 2012 State of Social Media Marketing Report by Awareness

The key challenges reported by marketers was funding (and finding) the resources necessary and measuring returns on the social media investments.  This is great news for social media practictioners who have experience in creating and curating content, and for experts in measuring and analyzing social media returns and performance.  There are still too few of these experienced resources who have hands-on expertise in working across multiple industries and situations.

As far as budgets are concerned, companies with limited money to spend will focus on increasing presence across social media networks.  Companies with moderate budgets are planning on investing in social media monitoring platforms while companies with larger budgets will spend their money on social media management tools and developing scalable processes.

You can download your own copy of the report from this landing page or view the embedded Slideshare version below (courtesy of Elizabeth Lupfer of The Social Workplace).

More about Awareness can be found at these links:

Social Media ROI Is Like An Oreo Cookie

While watching Olivier Blanchard‘s great presentation about Social Media ROI that I ‘discovered’ on Mashable this week, I had a revelation.

Social Media ROI is like an Oreo Cookie!

It would be hard to find anyone who hasn’t taken apart an Oreo cookie to eat the frosting.  Some people claim that the middle of an Oreo is the best while others claim that there are no calories in the frosting which means that it doesn’t really matter.  In any case, one of the slides in Oliver’s presentation resonated with me and it made me think of Oreo cookies.

There are a lot of activities that people quantify and measure when looking at the ROI of an investment – but the only 2 ones that matter are the Investment Impact and the Financial Impact.  The investment relates to the limited resources of  people, technology and time for the activity, and the financial impact relates to increased revenues or decreased costs.

Social Media ROI is Like An Oreo Cookie

Social Media ROI is Like An Oreo Cookie (loosely borrowed idea from Oliver Blanchard and Nabisco)

In other words, the Investment and Financial Impacts are the cookie outsides and the non-financial action is the stuff in the middle.  And just like an Oreo cookie, the stuff in the middle doesn’t really matter.  At least it doesn’t matter from in a return or investment sense.  Web visitors, impressions, customer complaints, positive reviews, blog posts, click-throughs, emails, Twitter followers, blog comments, etc. do not translate directly into quantifiable revenues until those actions convert into incremental sales or confirmed cost reductions.  The non-financial impacts are predictors of success, but they are not success in and of themselves.

When it comes down to it, the only things that matter is how much did you spend and how much did you make.

Most importantly, Olivier says to:

  • Establish a baseline – so you can measure the changes from
  • Create activity timelines – so you can correlate specific actions to
  • Analyze sales revenue along several dimensions – in terms of Frequency, Reach and Yield or F.R.Y. (transactions per month, net new customers, $ amount per transaction)

With that introduction, I give you Olivier Blanchard’s Basics of Social Media ROI presentation from Slideshare which he originally presented at the Social Fresh Conference in August 2009.  He uses images from the 1970′s British television show, UFO Series, which makes for an interesting and amusing presentation:

You can also follow Olivier on Twitter at @theBrandBuilder.

Speaking of ROI, Maddie Grant summarized 6 other blog posts on Social Media ROI in Social Media Today this week.  Here are repeats of her links:

  1. NTEN – The Three Dimensions of Social Media ROI
  2. The BrandBuilder Blog by Olivier Blanchard – Defining Social Media ROI once and for all, and understanding the action-reactive-return narrative
  3. Adam Cohen (A Thousand Cuts) – The Basics of Social Media ROI
  4. Social Computing Journal – Measuring Social Media ROI: Does size matter?
  5. BrandSavant – What’s Wrong With Social Media Marketing Strategy
  6. Jacob Morgan – The Importance of a Social Media ROI Diagnostic

Highlights from McKinsey’s Global Study on How Companies are Benefiting from Web 2.0

McKinsey & Company Logo

The management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company has been tracking and analyzing the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies for the last three years.  In this year’s study, they wanted to determine if companies were getting measurable business benefits from their investments in Web 2.0 technologies.

The short answer is YES as noted in this excerpt from the executive summary:

69 percent of respondents report that their companies have gained measurable business benefits, including more innovative products and services, more effective marketing, better access to knowledge, lower cost of doing business, and higher revenues.

As part of the study, they released an an interactive tool that lets users explore and customize three years of survey results.  For example, two areas where I have an interest – blogging and social media – have shown significant increases from 2007 to 2009.  In 2007, only 17% of companies maintained a blog and that grew to 46% in 2009.  Similarly, social media usage at the survey companies has grown from 19% in 2007 to 42% in 2009.

Another great insight is how companies are achieving measurable gains for Internal Purposes, Customer-related Purposes and Working with External Partners/Suppliers.  For example, 52% of companies say that they have increased their marketing effectiveness and the two most important technologies for this segment are blogs and social networks:

McKinsey Global Web 2.0 Study - Excerpt from Exhibit 1

McKinsey Global Web 2.0 Study – Excerpt from Exhibit 1

The Survey also suggested 2 additional points of good news for us involved in social media and Web 2.0 initiatives:

  1. More than 1/2 of the companies in this year’s survey plan to increase their investment and 1/4 expect their investments to stay the same
  2. Among companies who have gained measureable benefits, the current economic downturn has only increased their interest

Here is the link to the complete survey results along with some other suggested links with some great information – you may have to register for a free account at McKinsey, but it’s definitely worth it:

I’ve Seen the Social Analytics Future…

…and it’s already here.

Lawrence Liu from Telligent responded to my Walking the Social Media Walk blog post last week with some great comments and a suggestion to check out their Harvest Reporting Server.

So I did.

Being a longtime fan and advocate of business intelligence and analytics, I am wowed by what Telligent has done.  And they have certainly raised the bar in terms of what I expect from other community vendors.

After taking a quick spin with the Telligent Harvest Report Server this morning, here’s what I like about it:

  1. You Can Test Drive It – Telligent lets you actually test drive their software on their site with real data.  Not many vendors are brave enough or confident enough to put software in the hands of prospects (or competitors).  I really like the idea of playing with it by myself, so kudos to Telligent!
  2. It Behaves Like Google Analytics – I love Google Analytics and think it sets the standard for how analytics packages should operate and behave.  I use Google Analytics to monitor activity on the several websites that I manage.  My favorite part about Google Analytics is how it lets you chose your own date ranges and easily drill up and down into the data – and Harvest provides similar functionality with a 2-month default view or you can select your own time period.
  3. Easily and Visually Measures Trends – The reports are very visual and display the data over time – rather than just points in time.  Plus, the dashboard clearly identifies directional trends with green or red arrows.  You can also look at the information in the aggregate or easily drill down to the individual user or comment.
  4. Incorporates “Social Fingerprinting” - Telligent has come up with a unique way to analyze member behavior using 6 different axes that they call Overseer, Originator, Answerer, Asker, Commentor and Connector.  The interface provides a ‘spider-chart’ view of each user along each dimension.
  5. Introduces Sentiment Detection – This is another new feature that I have not seen in an social media/community analytics package, but I know that it has been on the top of everyone’s list for quite some time.  This feature measures the tonality of the traffic on your community and organizes it into positive and negative sentiments.  I am not quite sure about how well this works yet since it seems that you have to have clearly defined positive or negative words or phrases.  However, this is the first vendor I know who has taken a shot at delivering this type of information.

Granted, having great analytics will not necessarily make a great community.  However, providing rich and robust data in an easily accessible format definitely helps us community managers who are tasked with analyzing community activity and behavior – and turning that data into actionable insights.

Here is a screen shot of a User Report and some links where you can make your own judgments about the Telligent Harvest Reporting Server:

Example of User Report Tab from Harvest Reporting Server

Example of User Report Tab from Harvest Reporting Server

Now if they could only let me bolt this onto the community of my choosing (just like Google Analytics).