Although more C-suite executives are buying in to the need for a corporate social media presence, they remain largely divided on the value of social business, according to a new global study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte.
What’s more, the majority of CEOs surveyed said that social use is not measured—and this lack of metrics proves widely problematic.
“The lack of metrics means that those who wish to step up their leadership in social collaboration are without many of the traditional tools they would normally use to encourage and reward action,” said David Kiron, executive editor at MIT SMR and a co-author of the study.
We find it interesting that measurement hasn’t yet appeared on the collective C-suite radar. Other attributes of a social strategy, including clear vision and leadership, were cited in the study as critical to the adoption of social software. Yet to our way of thinking (and we know we’re not alone), collecting and analyzing metrics is just as important, and letting data help drive marketing (and sales) strategies is a key component of success.
After all, data can not only shed light on the efficacy of social software and a larger social strategy—understanding the context of that data can drive larger business decisions. And this sort of analysis and understanding goes far beyond simply listening. Of course, that’s an important part of a social presence, too. But that’s only a small part of the equation. Data analysis—and the resulting knowledge that comes from that analysis—is important in not only better understanding your audience, but also to accomplish goals ranging from reputation management to sales to customer service as well as evaluating the general effectiveness of your online marketing strategies.
A better understanding of data and its larger context can—and should—help guide a social strategy, which may address an issue that appeared in the study. The results suggest that many CIOs struggle with creating a clear, articulate vision to guide corporate-wide social business use, which may explain why many larger corporations have been slow to adopt a social strategy.
One thing is clear, and this isn’t related only to marketers or CIOs — senior level executives in general must understand the importance of data – whether it relates to sales, marketing, service or any other part of the business. And I know I’m a geek, but the relevance of data and analysis can’t be overstated. By measuring the impact of every sales initiative, marketing campaign, social media efforts, etc., and letting data drive strategy, businesses win. And customers? They win, too.
Have you seen the study results mirrored in your own experience with C-suite executives and corporations?
Image by HeavyWeightGeek via Creative Commons