Social media use throughout organization has financial payoff – study

A couple of reporters told me last week their news organization had encouraged them recently  to begin tweeting updates.

One, who was using the tool to announce new content, said audience engagement was still minimal. Another said they were unclear as to how the organization was tracking any benefit from their effort.

A new study released July 20 suggests the news outlet could benefit substantially by better focusing and communicating its social media strategy — getting more reporters involved and encouraging them to become more personal.

The study found a financial correlation between companies that outperform their peers and those that strongly engage people across multiple channels of social media. It didn’t look specifically at news media organizations but its recommendations would seem to apply widely — especially since it found that media and technology companies were, on average, involved in the most social media channels.

The study is authored by social media analyst Charlene Li of the Altimeter Group in collaboration with social publishing platform Wetpaint. The researchers found:

Social media engagement and financial success work together to perpetuate a healthy business cycle: a customer-oriented mindset stemming from deep social interaction allows a company to identify and meet customer needs in the marketplace, generating superior profits.

The top scorers in the study — Starbucks, Dell … and Thomson Reuters — all engaged the audience on multiple platforms. But the researchers also concluded that focusing heavily on just a few channels can be effective.

The study listed a number of take-away points. One of the key ones was:

Social media is no longer the responsibility of a few people in the organization. Instead, it’s important for everyone across the organization to engage with customers in the channels that make sense — a few minutes each day spent by every employee adds up to a wealth of customer touch points.

So, it suggests that while social media editors are important, to become truly effective, news outlets need to spread those tasks much more broadly.

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