Social Media ROI: What 10% of B2C Firms Do Right

7 Social Media Success Factors [Research / Charts]

Social Media Leaders Only 10% of B2C companies have organized their social media activities to yield ROI through significant improvement across different aspects of their business according to 3Q2013 by TCS.

For these B2C firms, social media is a game-changer requiring organizational and cultural transformation to maximize their investment. Social media effectiveness-TCS-3Q2013

Top 7 social media success factors based on global research

Based on the global research of TCS across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific, the 7 elements of social media success are:

1. Are transparent as an organization.

The social media leaders have a policy of corporate transparency among employees and customers.  For this to succeed, it’s critical to have social media guidelines. Customer Opinions-TCS-3Q2013

Further, the social media leaders tend to value and share customer input across functions. Transparency-Leaders-TCS-3Q2013

2. Use a variety of social media platforms.

Social media leaders employ a diverse set of social media tools. Specifically:

  • 81% have corporate blogs.
  • 77% have mobile apps for consumers who use social media.
  • 61% have online video channels.

Social media platforms used-TCS-3Q2013 Facebook is the hands down, must have social media network, used by 88% of companies. (Want to diversify your social media offering? Here are 50 states of social media.) SOcial media Networks Used-TCS-3Q2013

3. Invest in social media.

Social media isn’t a free strategy. Social media requires investment to yield measurable results, even if it’s in the form of employee time. Social media spending includes staff, technology, marketing agency fees, consulting services and other costs.

In 2013, this average social media spend per respondent will be $18.8 million and the median social media spend per respondent will be $2.7 million.

By contrast, social media leaders will spend an average of $28 million with a median of $7 million.

Leaders vs Followers Average Spend -TCS-3Q2013

There’s a big difference in the amount companies spend on social media.

  • 37% of respondents’ companies will spend less than $1 million this year on social media.
  • 8% of respondents’ companies will spend would spend at least $50 million.  Social Media Spend-TCS-3Q2013

B2C companies spend less than a quarter of their big data budget on social media.

Average spend on mobile big data and social media-TCS-3Q2013

4. Have internal social media team that works across functions.

Almost half of respondents centralized the social media function at the corporate level. Social Media Organization-TCS-3Q2013

Social media leaders have small core social media team focused on social media strategy, best practices and metrics that they leverage across the organization. Social media staff matters! The average number of full-time social media employees was 56 and the median number of full-time social media employees was 19. One third of companies have 10 or less full-time social media employees and 17% have over 100 full-time social media employees.  Number of Fulltime Social Media Employess - TCS-3Q2013

4 or more functions work together on social media for over a quarter of respondents.

5. Involve employees from different functions in social media.

For an effective social media strategy, diverse input is required. At a minimum, the 3 front line functions, namely, marketing, customer service and sales, must be focused on what’s being said on social media.

BUT, other departments should be involved in social media to gather useful input, namely R&D and product management.

  • 27% of R&D/product development regularly view social media input.
  • 37% of product management regularly view social media input.

Functions that collaborate on Social Media-TCS-3Q2013

6. Control social media outside of marketing.

Marketing controls social media in over a third of companies, while 10% of companies have a special social media officer who is outside of marketing.

About half of B2C companies plan to restructure their social media function in 2014.

Who Controls Social Media Function-TCS-3Q2013

For leaders, social media is controlled by a variety of different functions.

Social Media Leaders - Who COntrols Social Media - tcs-3Q2013

7. Measure social media ROI.

56% of respondents measure the return on social media investment. Location matters since companies in Asia-Pacific and Latin America were more likely to have a positive social media ROI than those in North America and Europe. (BTW–Here’s the secret to making social media measurable.)

  • 38% of B2C firms receive a positive social media ROI
  • 18% of B2C firms receive a negative social media ROI
  • 44% of B2C firms don’t measure social media ROI. 

Measure social media ROI-TCS-3Q2013

Leaders have over 3X the rate of positive social media ROI over followers.  Leaders vs Followers - Positive ROI-TCS-3Q2013 Ability to track social media ROI is related to having concrete goals and metrics in place. When it comes to social media, most B2C firms focus on branding.  Social Media Goals-TCS-3Q2013

While closer examination shows that many of the 16 improvement attributes were brand related, social media improves sales and the related process as well as reducing a variety of costs.  Social Media Impact Across Corporate Goals-TCS-3Q2013

For B2C businesses, social media drives bottom line ROI. To maximize your organization’s return, use these 7 social media factors as a guide to transform your business.

What else would you add to this list and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies. You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

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  •*/*/*/CEO/top100 Urs E. Gattiker

    Dear Heidi

    I love your article and I very much appreciate that you published some of the charts. Nevertheless, I do have some questions about how the study was done and if we can draw some conclusion from it, such as:

    1 – How did Tata Consulting select the 600 respondents (where these their clients, did one person reply per company, how were participants chosen?)

    2 – If you look at Tata’s own website, blogs have been inactive for months and the division that did the study has one blog with zero engagement (e.g., no reader comments) and so forth.

    Hence, I look at these study with some scepticism regarding the validity of these findings.

    @HeidiCohen:twitter thanks so much for sharing.

    Urs E. Gattiker working at CyTRAP Blog Rank (click to get Tata BlogRank)