Every business is looking for the right analytics to point to in hopes of determining success or failure in social media. Perhaps even more so, every business is trying to find that right combination of metrics that allows them to see how they’ve done and understand how to improve.

Spredfast, an SME client, announced last week they’ve added integration with the Social Business Index, a scorecard of sorts from the Dachis Group. On the surface, this might seem like pulling in Klout scores or other one-off measures that certainly enhances the tool, but isn’t earth-shattering. But if you look a little deeper, it’s a bit more important.

First, you have to understand the Social Business Index. The Dachis Group spent almost two years developing the tool. It looks at major areas of social business performance — things like consumer engagement, employee engagement, online sentiment, conversational marketshare — and compares companies to their competitors, industry benchmarks and even other industries as a whole. The cataloging (scoring a company with the index) started with the Fortune 100, extended throughout the subsidiaries of those companies, their competitors and the like, then moved into companies beyond the 100.

Social Business Index - Now in SpredfastNow, the SBI rates tens of thousands of companies and their subsidiaries. Just about any national brand in just about any industry can be found. The score is kind of like a very advanced and more holistic Klout score for a business. While I do think there are potential flaws in the SBI algorithm, or at least the thinking behind it, much of my concern is accounted for if the company in question registers and manages their profile in the index. This allows businesses (and any business can register for free) to input critical business intelligence like stakeholder audiences, strategic goals and etc., that no algorithm can possibly decipher.

Understanding the SBI, you can start to see how this measure baked into a social media management solution like Spredfast can help. Your company can not only see where it scores versus competitors or other benchmark companies, but can actively watch the data indicators in the SBI as you implement various social media campaigns and activations.

While I wouldn’t recommend it, one measure of a social media marketing success for your company could be how your SBI score is effected. Moving that needle means you’re moving the needles on your business becoming more social. That’d be a good thing, provided you’re bought into wanting to become that.

It’s worth noting that Dachis Group’s SBI is based on the fundamental beliefs of the company, which generally falls into the category that believes all businesses should be trying to become social businesses. Their indicators, and primary measure points, seem to be built on the philosophical tenants espoused for the last decade by what I’ve termed the “social media purists.” They look to measure how much you’ve “joined the conversation,” “engaged your audiences,” and “been more human as an organization.”

The fact they’ve come up with a way to measure that is impressive. But keep in mind, many of the examples used in, and in promoting, No Bullshit Social Media, were there to dispel some of these puritanical notions of social media. While my co-author, Erik Deckers, and I believe in those philosophical tenants, too, we like to account for the fact that some businesses may not need to follow these rules to succeed. You can drive business in today’s marketplace without “joining the conversation” or without using social media marketing at all.

Thus, the SBI is incomplete in that it rewards companies that seem to behave more socially online and penalizes those which do not. Even when those that do not may be driving significant business through other mechanisms.

But, like my opinion of Klout scores, the SBI is one way to look at the available data about companies and their online behavior. It shouldn’t be the only score you look at for a brand’s online health, but it can certainly — if take in context — be useful in analyzing your brand’s online and social activity.

And now, Spredfast customers will have that score built in to their environment. They are the first to incorporate SBI, but won’t likely be the last. Still, being first means everything in today’s ever-changing SMMS landscape. Good on ya, Spredfast.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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