In an eye-opening piece of research, The Altimeter Group has pulled together some numbers that outline what corporate social media strategists are focusing on, both outside and inside their own organizations. They’re thinking much bigger than just 140 characters.

Turns out what social media strategists want most is to measure their efforts. They want to attach dollar signs to their work. They want to measure social media ROI.

Here is a quick summary of the study:

Going forward – assuming Jeremiah Owyang and crew are on point with their research – social media marketing won’t just about listening anymore.  The focus will shift to creating engaging content that drives transactions and actionable intelligence.

(This is the part where we remind you about Argyle Goals – our social media conversion tracking feature that links social content to online transactions.)

Personally, I’m excited that a leading voice has piped up about linking social to transactions.  18 months ago, Jeremiah would have been lynched by the social media the blogosphere for suggesting that social media is about anything but “listening” and “the conversation”. 

Sure – engagement is a core pillar of any social media marketing effort.  But the engagement ultimately needs to ring the register.  The problem to-date is that social media marketers have spoken in terms of “engagement”, while managers and executives tend to speak in terms of “money”.

The market is getting much more pragmatic about the social channel and that is good for all of us.

Interestingly, the report also shows that 48% of corporate social strategists struggle to measure the value of social media for the following reasons: disparate sets of data, a plethora of engagement metrics and a vast array of data growing at an exponential rate.  More signs that the numbers need to get more consistent and the goals more concrete.

This report thrilling for us because it shows that the market is getting smarter, proves that social media is graduating from experimental channel to strategic channel, and – for us – validates that we’re on the right track with Argyle Social.


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