Finally, some hard data to justify the time and money devoted to social media marketing.
Well, sort of. Digital media consulting firm Altimeter Group and social-media platform WetPaint recently published a study attempting to discover, once and for all, whether engaging in social media pays off at the register. The EngagementDB study provides some evidence that suggests it does.
The study looked at the top 100 global Brands and bucketed them into one of four groups based on their level of social engagement. Each grouping reflected a different breadth (how many channels) and depth of engagement (content, replies, activity, etc.).
High presence = 7+ channels
Low presence = < 6 channels
The researches graphed the buckets against their reported revenue growth over the last 12 months. They found a strong correlation between the companies most engaged in the social space and those that exhibited the strongest revenue growth.
So although we can’t directly quantify the value of engaging in the social space, we can finally agree that it’s a valuable form of marketing that helps brands build their bottom line. Can’t we?
While I wish I could definitively say that the EngagementDB study proves the bottom line value of social media engagement, I don’t know that we can. Correlations are often misleading, any number of factors could (and did) affect the revenue of the companies studied. It would be presumptuous to say that social engagement actually caused or hindered actual business performance.
The Bottom Line
What I am comfortable concluding is that social media forges a new relationship between brand and consumer. Social media engagement forces a brand to undergo a radical shift in perspective, one where they must consider how their messages and platforms add value to the consumer’s daily experience, not just distract from it. They are plunged into a world where they must earn consumer’s attention, and not rely on buying it.
Companies that are able to successfully engage in social media are forced to transform their perspective of the consumer landscape, to adapt to a modern media landscape where they are but one voice in a million. And once a Brand goes there, it starts to permeate everything they do.
It’s brand building 2.0 and it’s driving the bottom line.