Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Understand what the online buzz means; who is saying what, and where, about their brand, its competitors and the market itself

Niklas de Besche is the executive director of Meltwater Group

Guest blog by Niklas de Besche, executive director, Meltwater Drive and Buzz:
Social media can do great things for a business, and a well developed online strategy can play a big part in a business’s ability to be successful. Despite many companies now implementing strategies, according to our recently published Future of Content survey, there are two notable areas for improvement. 
Companies admit that they can’t properly measure social media’s return on investment (ROI), but when it comes to social media, as much as it can’t be controlled, can it be measured?
47 percent of companies consider measurement a significant challenge. Companies are used to being able to measure the success of a campaign but social media presents a new challenge. Tracking its ROI, whether it’s money or time, is unfamiliar territory for many organisations.
Measure the true ROI of activities
Similarly, a lack of resources and time to devote to social media (45 percent) can affect organisations’ ability to measure the true ROI of activities, with only one in seven companies fully satisfied that they can. This suggests that businesses are hesitant to fully embrace social media without first mitigating any risks regarding their associated budget.
Interestingly, 87% of organisations consider it important to monitor what is being said online about their company, yet only 16% have invested in tools to do this. Does this show that the UK is good at talking at its customers but is forgetting to listen?
Companies are excited yet challenged by the changing nature of content and are learning as they go. With a further 33 percent of companies planning to adopt monitoring tools in the coming year, businesses now need to re-evaluate how and why they are using social media to ensure this investment is justified.
Although overall enthusiasm is high, of those companies having increased their social media budget in the past 12 months, the industry itself is in a transitional period. With transition comes risk, and more emphasis will therefore be placed on measuring its overall contribution in order to help justify the investment.
The industry is still very much in its infancy – there is lots of potential but companies are still figuring out how best to adopt social media. What’s clear is that the online landscape has undergone considerable change and before companies embark on a social media strategy, they must understand what the online buzz means; who is saying what, and where, about their brand, its competitors and the market itself.
·     ROI,
·     social media,
·     social media monitoring
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