Market Strategies International released its inaugural Social Media Brand Index, which provides a rigorous view of how top brands across different industries succeeded in social media in 2011.
We’re not surprised to see many of the names on the top 20 list from the index. Starbucks has been a leader in the use of social media marketing from the start, as have Amazon, Disney, Google and Nike.
The Index also shares five insights every marketer should consider when analyzing social media investments.
“Companies are swimming in web analytics, but they often have no idea where they are in relation to other swimmers,” said Theo Downes-Le Guin, a consultant to Market Strategies and its former chief research officer.
“Our Index rank orders nearly 150 leading brands across industries as well as the most social brands by industry.”
Here’s the top 20 most social brands revealed by the index:
Market Strategies specifically built this Index to address the effect of sponsored – not just “naturally occurring” – social media content and interactions. The underlying premise is that four elements drive a successful brand presence in social media:
- Volume: The number of conversations that contain a consumer opinion, emotion or behavior.
- Net Sentiment: The ratio of positive to negative sentiments expressed about a brand.
- Positive Emotions: The number of content items that are identified as having positive emotions.
- Sponsored Presence: The number of “likes” on a company-sponsored Facebook page, the number of followers on a corporate-sponsored Twitter account(s) and the number of subscribers to sponsored YouTube channel(s).
Downes-Le Guin added, “We’re still very early in the game in terms of understanding and analyzing social media marketing efforts, and we’re years away from an agreed-upon ROI model. But, we believe social media will remain an important part of the marketing mix and our ability to validly demonstrate that importance will grow over time.”
Five key takeaways emerged from the study that may be instructive for marketers who struggle with how to support their brands using social media:
- Diversity of social channels and tactics is critical to success.
- Every industry has a different “right” level of social.
- Reach without positive sentiment is a short-term win.
- Not all sponsored channels are equal.
- Measuring success requires mashing up data sources.