For a decade now, company managers have talked about the importance of having a social media presence. Given the recent growth social networks, the focus seems prescient. However, companies have not done a good job of using social networks for business purposes. If they are honest with themselves, though, most corporate leaders still cannot measure the impact of their social media campaigns.
Forbes has published the results of a study conducted by two Duke University MBA students, which recommends a strategy for evaluating social media campaigns. Recognizing that only 15% of marketers report being able to quantify the impact of social media, the students urge marketers to employ “goal-driven metrics” that are tightly connected to desired outcomes.
Like so many best practices in business, this approach requires discipline and strategic thinking. It is not enough for a company to simply gain a social media presence. To be successful online, companies must transition from social dabbling to strategic development of social assets. They must use social media to accomplish goals that matter, while carefully tracking the results.
What goals can social media accomplish for a business, though? There are many answers to this question, including creating awareness of new products and service, building customer loyalty through engagement, and evaluating products and services by obtaining customer feedback. Managers must decide which social media goals are most valuable and most easily obtained.
The days of hiring a social media person or two to manage a company’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are gone. Today, corporate social media engagement requires a coherent business strategy that relates to goals that matter to the company. It is not easy, but it can be valuable if done right.