A World Gone Social

How Companies Must Adapt to Survive

A World Gone Social

Authors: Ted Coine, Mark Babbitt
Pub Date: September 2014
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814433263
Page Count: 256
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814433270

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What’s the ROI on Social Media?

The Answer Lies in the Social Circle of Life

Like nearly every early adopter, you’ll be pressured by the CFO (or whoever controls your company’s money) to justify the resources you commit to social media. In response, you can quote impressive findings, such as how Hotspex Market Research’s data shows that, from 2010 to early 2013, the average value of a Facebook fan increased 28 percent—to $174.17. Unfortunately, however, what old school executives insist on—direct financial return on investment—is an extremely difficult metric to track in the Social universe.

So, how do you get past the mandate to measure social media’s impact by revenue generated, each quarter, to demonstrate its vast business value?

“Social is big,” affirm early adopters and true believers Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt. “But you can’t talk about social—or issues like overall ROI—without also talking about the technologies that have intersected with social media to cause what we call the Social Circle of Life.”

As they discuss in A WORLD GONE SOCIAL (AMACOM 2014), recognizing and leveraging this unstoppable circle is the key to measuring and increasing social media’s ROI. Here’s an overview:

• The Social Circle of Life is made up of all social networking and interactions, plus four seamlessly connected components:

1. Mobile technology. Mobile is where social will be happening—worldwide, and soon. A couple of stats to consider: according to comScore, sales of tablets like the iPad are increasing year over year at a rate of 75 percent; according to Nielson, time spent on mobile apps is increasing by 100 percent every year.

2. Cloud computing. “The Cloud” is not that complicated, nor mysterious. When you access money from your bank account using another bank’s ATM, the network that enables that is in the cloud. Many suppliers of software products we routinely use for work and life—including nearly all social media management software (SMMS) vendors—exclusively offer cloud-based solutions.

3. Big data. Every time anyone visits a Social network—and almost every time anyone clicks that “I accept terms of use” button on a website—data is collected. Service bureaus and brokers collect that public data, often from our mobile devices and stored in the cloud, and package it for business (and other) uses. From there, all kinds of organizations use that data to cut costs, save time, develop and improve products, spot trends among crowds of consumers by any demographic, build better digital relationships, and make smarter business decisions faster. Bottom line: Big data = big bucks.

4. Analytics. Yes, MBAs have been doing analysis on data since the first days of the Industrial Age. But they weren’t backed by supercomputers. With Social Age analytics, any forward-thinking company can turn big data into huge competitive advantages. Using megacomputing power, business leaders can sort through their staff’s efforts on social media and see for themselves which strategies and resources are bearing fruit—and which, despite sounding good, signify nothing. Combined with careful tracking of every aspect of a company’s business model (including website visits, subscriber lists, and much more), using analytics reveals how specific social media marketing investments are paying off.

• All the knowledge reaped from the analytics of big data, which lives in the cloud and thrives on mobile technologies and social media, goes full circle back into social networking—and other vital aspects of a Socially aware business. Companies that harness the power of the Social Circle of Life:

- Know exactly what content worked and what fell flat

- Engage with those already talking about the brand: bloggers, influencers, and organic brand ambassadors

- Know—and can target—the advocates of their competitors

- Take objective input to their product development and advertising teams so they now what their customers like and don’t like

- Seek out collaboration and strategic partnerships with closely aligned brands and purpose-driven nonprofits...and much more!

What’s the ROI on social media? As Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt reveal in A WORLD GONE SOCIAL, the answer comes down to a powerful equation:

SOCIAL + MOBILE + CLOUD + BIG DATA + ANALYTICS = Social Age SUCCESS

Adapted from A WORLD GONE SOCIAL: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive by Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt (AMACOM 2014).

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