There are still a number of business people, executives, owners and more, that have doubts about social media as a business driver. Part of that skepticism has to do with the fact the medium is quite new and participating in it requires a different approach from traditional marketing efforts. Part of it has to do with the fact that social media thinkers and advocates have never been very good at illustrating a definitive tie to business success through their medium of choice.

Business.com‘s Social Media Best Practices: Question & Answer Forums report released two weeks ago talked about statistics around forums like LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo Answers and Business.com’s own Business.com Answers. The report had a hidden gem in it: The chart below which listed Social Media Success Metrics:

This might be the first quantified list of what social media can do for your business. It was taken from survey of over 1,400 individuals, 69 percent of whom work at business currently using social media and 59 percent of whom are business owners or C-Level executives.

If you run into someone who doubts what social media can do for business from now on, share this information with them. People just like them say it does the above.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls 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 Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://nilsgeylen.com/blog Nils Geylen

    Honestly, I'd actually hesitate showing this chart to doubting business prospects. What a skeptic would read here is that of the limited number of businesses that currently invest in social media (how much would that be? 15%?) only a third has seen their brand awareness gone up so much as to be able to call that “a success”… That doesn't really make it look like a goose with golden eggs.
    Not to say I'm not an advocate: *if* you participate in social media, you do seem to have a 60% chance of increasing web site traffic at least. From there on it depends on what you do next, with the site and with the audience you've reached.
    A lot of work still to be done there.
    Cheers though for the graph. It will be interesting to track how this evolves.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks Nils. I think you're reading the statistics a little more
      liberally than I would. This chart only shows reasons why executives
      say the participate in social media. It's not to imply that
      participating in it increases your website traffic by 60%. And it's
      not that only 1/3 have seen their branding increase, but that 1/3 of
      respondents say branding is a reason they participate. Sure, skeptics
      can read anything they want into the numbers, but this chart is just a
      list of why, not results of what.

      • gsharpe62

        It seems that a great deal of people, particularly the traditional marketing types forget that Social Media concepts (while taking off quite nicely in the last year) are but one tool in the business toolbox. Businesses should have many tools in their toolbox to not only bring balance to marketing but also have a fallback while exploring new emerging concepts. It can be a viable tool if used properly and consistently, consistency will prove to be important…because they are watching and they will let you know when you fall of the social media radar.

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          Don't disagree with that at all, Greg. Social media is not a silver
          bullet. It is not the only (or often even the primary) thing you
          should be doing to market your product or service. It is one
          communications channel. The most effective marketing is that which
          leverages many channels to deliver consistent messages to the
          consumer, receive messages from the consumer and build a relationship
          with them over time. Thanks for reminding us.

    • http://twitter.com/SocialWants Kelsi Guidry

      You see… I think this is one of the problems, many people FOR SOME REASON think that social media is some kind of “goose with golden eggs”.
      Social media shouldn't be looked at as the BEST form of marketing. It is just another channel to add.
      People invest in TV commercials even though they yield a very low ROI but why are they hesitating to invest in social media?

      • thecoolestcool

        While I agree that Social Media shouldn't be looked at as the BEST form of marketing. It is hard to argue that it isn't BECOMING the best form of marketing. Although would be impossible to reach my grandmother who doesn't have a computer using Social Media. I think its fair to say that down the road Social Media will stand as the winner when compared to Radio Ads, Commercials and Billboards.

        I think people are hesitating because they are still scared – People fear change. This is a significant shift in the way marketing is done and currently is simply a buzz word in a lot of executives vocabulary.

  • msod

    Great post. Keeping the finger on the pulse is the most important key to this modern turnover. Thanks for posting your insites, and I look forward to sharing your post with others :) http://theblog-business.blogspot.com/

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, sir. Appreciate the comment. Will check out your blog ASAP.

  • gcjmarkets

    I agree with the point that Greg made about seeing social media for what it is, and what it isn't. I think the graph shows that businesses are using Social Media as a tool and having success with it (just as Jason said). In fact I would use this graph as a way to help businesses understand that social media is not the entire tool set, by asking them what they believe would benefit their business. If they say they need more traffic and the research shows that social media is successful at delivering “More traffic”. You have provided a logical solution to their problem and backed it up with evidence.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Great points, G. Thanks for chiming in!

  • http://oraclelaunch.com Maren Kate

    Thanks Jason for the info on those metrics! Its hard to find social media metrics often and this really will help me with the clients I work with to show them some cold hard facts on what social media really can do.

    Thanks again!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      You're welcome, Maren! And thanks for stopping by.

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  • heatherwhaling

    I love this chart for the simple reason that it spells out a set of potential metrics. I'm not sure that I would show it to a social media skeptic, but I'd keep it in my back pocket and draw on the info if necessary. That said, I do find it interesting that the question asked respondents to explain how they judge success — but not necessarily to detail what metrics have actually shown success/improvement. Meaning, someone could answer that they use web traffic as a metric. But, this chart doesn't illustrate if they've had positive results with that specific metric. It would be interesting to see a related chart that shows these metrics and which ones have seen improvement as a result of social media. Now, that would be a chart we could parade around to prospects. :)

    Jason, thanks for bringing this chart to our attention.

    Heather
    @prtini

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Good thoughts, Heather. I'd like to see that chart, too. Appreciate
      you stopping by.

    • http://twitter.com/SocialWants Kelsi Guidry

      Yes Heather! This is a great post not only to show others what social media can do for them, but what metrics to measure in the first place!

      And this other chart you speak of… What are some specific example metrics are you talking about?

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  • http://buhlerworks.com/wordpress JEBworks

    The concept of integrated marketing has been around for a long time and with social media marketing becoming more prominent there is an added dimension to this. As has been said in the comments it is not a silver bullet or a replacement of other tools in the overall marketing tool kit.

    This chart is useful as it gives an indication what social media is used for which is the first criteria to be measured before ROI can be tackled which often is the primary question asked. It's good to know the answer to the question of why before the, what, where and how is discussed.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Great thought! Puts this info in the proper perspective. Thanks for
      that!

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  • http://www.internet-marketing-strategies-and-secrets.com/ David Reske

    I think it's very important to understand the effect that SM has on all of the varying aspects of business. Good to see some number up here, gives a good perspective on how it's being used.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Agreed. Thanks, David.

  • http://twitter.com/yourprguy yourprguy

    Good points made here. gsharpe62's balanced approach seems to resonate with me. While social media providing value as a new media for organizations to use, we should forget or neglect other tools in our toolbox.

    There another point Jeremiah Owyang told me. Marketing teams need to also establish an internal sandbox to tests and learn new social media tools.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Great thoughts, Rodger. Appreciate the additional ideas.

    • shawn

      I agree when it's used correctly its an amazing tool, but sometimes when people flaunt their social media know how its really annoying. This blog isn't true but its funny: http://reallychill.org/comedy/breaking-news-new

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  • http://twitter.com/SocialWants Kelsi Guidry

    Thank you very much for pointing this out. I have a marketing partnership with an old school marketing style who is trying to get me to relay to his clients “What can social media do for you”.
    This a a great chart of metrics to show. This is even a good way of showing clients exactly what types of metrics we can help them measure in the first place.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      You're welcome, Kelsi. Thanks for commenting. Hope the list does help.

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  • Allison Collinger

    A solid survey to show measurable results that companies can understand, thanks.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      You're welcome. Thank you for the comment, Allison.

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  • http://twitter.com/nehalkazim Nehal Kazim

    This is a chart that I will bring to the attention of clients as validation. By reading some of the comments, there is still a degree of fear jumping into social media. But Jason, I wanted to ask you: do you think that traffic, as the number one reason why businesses are attempting to leverage social media, is right?

    What I mean by this is that you can get traffic but all traffic isn't treated equally. Should traffic be the main concern of social media or are these executives missing the boat?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I don't think traffic should be the main goal of your social media
      efforts and I don't think that's what the data says. It's just that of
      the executives that answered, that many of them agreed that traffic
      was a benefit … not the top benefit. I think building relationships
      with your customers and potential customers is the main benefit
      companies get out of social media. Sure, website traffic and even
      greater sales can be an end result as well, but social media is the
      piece of the marketing mix that nurtures connections between us and
      our customers best. The other benefits are there, but should perhaps
      be of lesser importance to most business. Make sense?

      • http://twitter.com/nehalkazim Nehal Kazim

        I understand that fostering a relationship with your customers and prospects is important. What I meant, based on your answer, is that traffic was a popular and that's one of the indicators of a successful social media campaign.

        With traffic as the main measurable indicator of a social media campaign, do you think that this is the most effective means of measuring a campaign? The reason I ask is because there are components that define social media, such as the strength of a relationship that can't be directly measured. What should a business be measuring as their main indicator?

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  • AmberNaslund

    This is a great pointer. But I'm curious if you find the same problem that I do, over and over again.

    It's one thing to talk about social media driving engagement with prospects. Or to say that it has a positive impact on lead quality. We can probably have a good discussion about how and why these things are true, theoretically.

    The tactical trouble I see is that companies don't know how to measure engagement with prospects. In other words, what are the indicators that you can tangibly, regularly track that point to increased or decreased engagement? How do you establish criteria for a “quality lead”, baseline that, and continue measuring it moving forward?

    It's a discussion that's going to keep coming up, I think, because companies aren't operationally equipped to do the actual measurement required to show movement and performance, one way or the other, toward these metrics. Time to start diving into the details?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Yep. And thank you for Monday's post topic. Good questions, of course.
      Thanks, A.

  • http://www.gennextmedia.com/chris-marentis Chris Marentis

    Amber brings up some great points. At the end of the day, engagement is ultimately buying something from a business. Downstream tracking of lead conversion to purchasing is critical to know what is really working. As lead channels multiply because of the distributed web, it is critical to measure by channel to optimize ROI.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Agreed, Chris. But how are we going to define and measure those
      channels?

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  • http://jimmy-gilmore.com Jimmy Gilmore

    One thing that's missing from the survey, and missing from many discussions about social media, is learning about the customer. I think this is because so many companies still view social media as push rather than push and pull. They say engagement but what they really mean is getting the customer the listen to them rather then investing the time to listen and learn.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Fair point, Jimmy. I think your insight on what they mean by
      engagement is pretty accurate. It would be great if they would do a
      survey based solely on understanding engagement! Perhaps someone's
      watching. Thanks for the thoughts.

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