Social media is all about engagement – engaging with people, consumers, brands, celebrities, you name it. As you know, some people tend to do it better than others. A recent research conducted by ENGAGEMENTdb attempts to measure the top 100 global brand’s value and engagement within social media channels. Before going any further, let’s review their top 10 list:
- Thomson Reuters
- Yahoo! and Intel (Tie)
I found it surprising to see Starbucks at the top of this list and were expecting instead to encounter the usual suspects in this study, i.e.Southwest airlines, Jetblue or Wholefoods. Turns out these brands were not researched since they haven’t made the global brand list. Back to Starbucks. They scored the number one spot, before technology-savvy brands such as Dell and Google. How did they do it? Alexandra Wheeler of Starbucks’ Digital Strategy department has an explanation: “We live in the physical world with thousands of natural touch points, so when we laid out the vision for our social strategy, it felt like home for the brand. It’s about the relationships we form with our customers, not marketing.” Here it is again: engagement. When approaching social media channels, it’s important to keep this in mind, before any marketing strategy you might want to conduct.
It’s been a difficult year for Starbucks financially speaking. The company has seen a decreased in revenue, which prompted it to undergo drastic changes – closing coffee shops, changing menus, etc. This also makes me wonder how this emblematic brand was able to score the top spot of the study. Patricio Robles over at Econsultancy is asking the following: “if you make the statement that “deep engagement with consumers through social media channels correlates to better financial performance” but the company that you rank as the most engaged has seen steady declines across many key business metrics (not just total revenue), how can you legitimately suggest cause and effect?”
This is a tough question that carries many underlying ones. Can social media efforts be financially measured? And if so, how can one interpret the correlation between financial gains and engagement? What if by trying to measure social media’s ROI we were just missing the point? The authors of this study came to this conclusion:
While much has been written questioning the value of social media, this landmark study has found that the most valuable brands in the world are experiencing a direct correlation between top financial performance and deep social media engagement. The relationship is apparent and significant: socially engaged companies are in fact more financially successful.
What do you think? Do you see a correlation between social media efforts and direct ROI?