A new study released today from Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group
confirms that deep engagement with consumers through social media
channels correlates to better financial performance.

So much for the naysayers who bleat that you can’t measure the value of social media: the ENGAGEMENTdb study shows that, on average, companies with the greatest breadth and depth of social media engagement grew company revenues by 18 percent over the last 12 months, while the least engaged companies saw revenues sink 6 percent on average over the same time period.

That’s a result the C-suite can really understand.  And one they’d allocate budget to.

The study reviewed more than 10 discrete social media channels, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, wikis, and discussion forums for each of the 100 most valuable brands as identified by the 2008 BusinessWeek/Interbrand Best Global Brands ranking. Activity in each channel was ranked for depth of interaction on measures that corresponded to that specific channel.

Why does broad engagement drive business? It’s about touch points. More touch points can present a ripple effect, inducing viral marketing, boosting brand recognition and driving sales volume.

However, the findings also suggest deep engagement in a few channels can be a rewarding and effective social media strategy. Focusing on depth over breadth present an opportunity to better understand the customer, react quickly to customer demand, and improve satisfaction – which in turn generates pricing power and drives business.

Scores for overall brand engagement ranged from a high of 127 to a low of 1. The top 10 ENGAGEMENTdb brands with their scores are:

   1. Starbucks (127)
   2. Dell (123)
   3. eBay (115)
   4. Google (105)
   5. Microsoft (103)
   6. Thomson Reuters (101)
   7. Nike (100)
   8. Amazon (88)
   9. SAP (86)
  10. Tie – Yahoo!/Intel (85)

The study provides some very useful PR info, namely how four brands: Starbucks, Toyota, SAP, and Dell, manage to engage broadly and deeply with,in some cases, very limited dedicated staff.

One recurring theme throughout these case studies is that engagement cannot remain the sole province of a few social media experts, but instead must be embraced by the entire organization.

The case studies provide insights and best practices to help any business move towards deep engagement – and an improved bottom line.