It Pays To Be Social...And I'm Not Talking About Partying
Social media marketing is an area of public relations in which I am really intrigued. For months, I've been researching the benefits of social media for business and we even talked about it a great deal in my social media for PR class (which was absolutely divine and I highly recommend for any communications grad student at DePaul). To my surprise, there are still a ton of companies that don't have a social media presence and I really don't understand why. Like Trader Joe's. The obnoxious grocery store has a website (that isn't really functional), but that's it. No Facebook page. No Twitter account. No Instagram. It's so odd to me. Almost as odd as this snow that's supposed to touch down tomorrow. I'm so not ready.
Recently the Capgemeni Consulting and the MIT Center for Digital Business conducted a year-long study, with more than 400 companies participating, that found businesses that thoughtfully invest in social media and let it drive their business decisions "benefit from a considerable 'digital advantage' and demonstrate significantly better financial performance than their peers." Well, duh. When much of the globe uses social media, it only make sense for corporations to jump on board...and profit from it!
According to the study, "digitally mature" companies reach that level by possessing to things: digital intensity and transformation management intensity. D.I. refers to investing in technologies that change how the company operates. Take the high-end British fashion label Burberry for example, which has a robust presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. According to the study, the label coupled these sexier efforts on social platforms with a strategy of integrating the data it was collecting on a global scale. And their Tumblr page? One of the most visually stimulating platforms I've seen from a company! Since gaining a digital presence, Burberry has seen a profit boost of 21 percent, according to The Next Web.
T.M.I. refers to the leadership within companies that believe in digital and will work to drive transformation. Like Nike, for instance, they built a digital division to grow the many things it was already doing on social media.
Based on those two factors, digital intensity and transformation management intensity, the study slices the companies it examined into four categories:
- Beginners: obviously these are companies that are just starting out socially and are unaware of the opportunities
- Fashionistas: adopt the newest or sexiest digital innovations, but without a cohesive strategy or eye to maximizing business value
- Digital Conservatives: have a cohesive vision, but are slow to invest in new technology
- Digirati: both invest in digital and integrate it with their whole organization
Still don't believe it pays to be digital? Check this out. This chart shows the profitability of companies within each category:
Basically, the study concludes it pays to have a well-developed and robust social media program. The problem is, reaching that point remains a challenge for cash and resource strapped companies (these are probably start-ups), and those with leaders (old CEOs probably) who still don’t see the benefits of social media.