Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Monetizing social networks and the valuation of social media connectivity – 10: putting the puzzle pieces together

Posted in macroeconomics, social networking and business by Timothy Platt on March 9, 2012

This is my tenth installment in a series on the valuation of online social networking connections, and more generally of online social media connections (see Macroeconomics and Business, postings 42-47, 49, 51and 54 for parts 1-9). In earlier series installments I have successively looked into a variety of issues and factors that would go into evaluating the actual, realizable value of social media connectivity for a business, with much of that centering on a more recent measurement innovation, the social media influence score.

I have looked at issues of demographics and whether a high score social media connector and influence reaches the right target audiences to be able to make a positive difference. I have looked at issues of scale and the size of the social media influence score, but also of valance and whether that influence is positive, negative, neutral or mixed – and in what way and under what circumstances and in the context of which social media channels and venues pursued, even when a social media influence is potentially positive and for the right target audience. My goal in this posting is to step back and look at how all the pieces to this puzzle do and sometimes do not fit together. And in that, I would posit what I would argue to be a simple and direct truth.

• There is no simple, easy to measure and apply magic bullet for determining and establishing a positive connection to the marketplace for any business or organization, that can simply be applied to any business and any marketplace according to a single formulaic implementation.

Marketing cannot simply rely on any one single measure or metric, or succeed from simply finding the spokesperson with the highest score and applying them like a bandage. In this I directly challenge some of the marketing hype that surrounds each newest and greatest as we move from eyeballs to sticky eyeballs and on to the next new and the next – currently pursuing the social media influence score.

• Every one of these metrics carry real value – but only when applied in a carefully considered way and with real understanding as to their limitations as well as of their potential strengths.

That, I add, applies to social influence scores as much as it does to its next best thing predecessors and I can state with some measure of certainty – it will apply to the next metrics to come along too. They all have to be understood and used in context and in concert with a full range of other tools, if they are to offer real value.

Given that large caveat, what would a best metric of social media and social networking connectivity look like in a business context? A partial answer to that is that it would connect the specifics of context to replicable and even standard frameworks of measurement and scale. And one proof of value is that it would offer fresh and otherwise unrealized insight into the specifics of the business, its customers and potential customers and the markets they would meet in. And, it would do so in such a way as to support comparisons with other businesses and their successes, and even across the boundaries of distinct markets.

• There is no single magic bullet metric, however, so the best alternative to finding and using one would be to intelligently make use of a tool chest of individually more limited metrics with social media influence scores only one of them – and with older metrics and even ones like eyeball counts used where they genuinely offer value, there in determining the baseline of how many people have at least seen a business web site as a starting point in determining its effectiveness.

I am going to finish this posting and this series at least for now, by stepping back and putting the entire issue of social media and social network monetization in a larger context. This type of data collection, sifting and sorting and analysis has to be conducted in much the same way as would be needed in determining the valid monetizable value of any other actionable business intelligence when moving beyond the ad hoc in building a richly information-based marketplace, or on a larger scale, an information economy. In this, data and processed intelligence that specify and clarify social media and social networking value simply comprise one of many possible slices of the overall pool of available business intelligence per se.

You can find this and related postings at Macroeconomics and Business. You can also find this and related postings at Social Networking and Business.

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