Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Social Media Success

How can you tell if your social network is working?

There can be many measures of success for social media. It can make a connection that helps you land a job or make a sale. It can be a channel that enables you to help others. It can build your personal or corporate brand. For a business it can be a marketing channel. Some results of Social Media are tangible while others may be more difficult to measure.

Businesses like to measure what they do and define success as creating more benefit than it costs to provide. The overall goal of any business is to make a profit. There can be many other goals but without this one it no longer qualifies as a business. So when a business sets out to measure success, it is most likely going to go with how much an activity contributes to the bottom line. For some activities this is very difficult to identify. It is easy to calculate the cost of a company social network, but how can profit be determined when there is no direct revenue? Increased productivity and increased employee engagement are benefits of a social network that are difficult to quantify but are very positive outcomes for an enterprise.

Wasting Time Wastes Money

I’ve seen studies that state up to twenty percent of a professional’s time is spent searching for information they need to do their job. If that search time is cut, then more work can be completed in the same amount of time. If the missing information is available from another employee, identifying that person is necessary to complete the task. So how can you discover who knows what? An internal social network can aid in expertise location by identifying individuals who have experience and information helpful to the person searching. The network can also be a channel to tap into that expertise by connecting with the expert and exchanging information. Finding people who have information you need keeps you from wasting time and increases productivity.

Employee Engagement Saves Money

What does it cost to hire a new employee? Obviously the answer can vary greatly between different industries and skill levels but the cost is always significant. Lowering turnover rate directly impacts the cost of hiring new employees because the company is hiring fewer new employees. And the benefits of engaged employees go far beyond the cost savings due to lower turnover. Engaged employees are more likely to represent the company in a positive light. This can influence others to pursue employment with the company or buy the companies products. Engaged employees have more enthusiasm for their work which typically leads to doing a better job. There is a stronger bond and increased loyalty when an employee is highly engaged. A company social network can be a tool for increasing employee engagement. By connecting with other employees individually the company stops being them and becomes us. Corporate culture can be influenced by individuals expressing their thoughts and ideas and others reacting and supporting the ideas. Through a social network colleagues become more than just email addresses in the company directory and individuals form stronger ties to each other and the firm.

Social Media Success

It may be rare to find a specific dollars and cents business case to measure the success of a company social network. Occasionally there will be an example of improved service or timesaving that show a direct cost savings or revenue increase. Those examples are not important. Increasing productivity will be a financial benefit to a company but even that is not the real benefit of lessening wasted time. Which job would you like to have, the one where you spend a day a week looking for stuff, or the one where you tap into your network of colleagues and collaborate to do a better job in a shorter time? A successful social network is one that benefits its users. If your company social network benefits your employees, it’s a success.

1 comment:

  1. Profit is not the sole basis for determining your campaign's success.