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Adi is a social business blogger and community manager that writes for sites such as Social Business News and Social Media Today. Away from the computer he enjoys cycling, particularly in the Alpes. Adi is a DZone Zone Leader and has posted 1134 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

4 stage of social business ROI

03.15.2013
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Earlier this month Altimeter followed in the footsteps of Gartner by releasing a report outlining various stages of social business maturity.

  1. Planning – this stage typically sees organisations setting the foundations for what is to come.  It involves listening to stakeholders and formulating strategies based upon this.
  2. Presence – next organisations start to take action, creating their presence on social media.
  3. Engagement – now social is less of a novelty and more a way of doing business.  Organisations at this stage will have a number of people involved in community building and management.
  4. Formalized – three steps are key to this stage.  Firstly a C level sponsor is required.  Secondly a social business hub is developed, and lastly core governance policies are created.
  5. Strategic – this stage sees social becoming more and more on the radar of senior executives, and it begins to become an organisation wide thing rather than being stuck within silos.
  6. Converged – here is the holy grail, the point where organisations cease to have social policies, and instead social is just how things are.

I wrote in my original post that whilst an interesting overview of the stages organisations go through on their way to becoming a social business, it doesn’t cover the internal obstacles and thought process that are typically gone through as well as the Gartner model.

Dutch social business agency Favela Fabric have released their own model this week, in a whitepaper called Five Steps to Prove Success in Social Business.

The report highlights four stages of success in social business.

Stage 1 – Acceptance

This is very early stage stuff and sees consumers queried as to their happiness via mechanisms such as online questionnaires to determine the success of any initiative.

Stage 2 – Participation

This stage is where many organisations get stuck.  It sees success being measured in terms of the engagement with content.  Think metrics such as how many retweets or the number of comments for a blog.  Whilst involvement in the platforms remains important, it doesn’t get to the meat of what you’re trying to do.

Stage 3 – Conversion

At this stage we actually start to see behaviours being changed by the insight the organisation is gaining from their social business work.  Better on boarding procedures for instance or reduced call-time for customer support queries represent good outcomes at this stage.

Stage 4 – Business success

This is a crucial stage, and one often forgotten by people working in social, as they get bogged down by metrics that matter to them, but not really to the business as a whole.  So at this stage we’re looking in the profit and loss reports to determine how social business has impacted the bottom line.

The report then goes on to outline some strategies you can go through to prove ROI and provide a clear reporting framework for the work you do.  I won’t give the whole game away, but the report is available to download for free from the Favela website.

Overall it’s a nice report that focuses on the measurement of social rather than the implementation or adoption.  It is a little on the short side, but nevertheless provides an interesting framework that’s based upon the Kirkpatrick-Phillips Model for evaluating training, which looks at the ROI of training and development.