How We Identified Best Practices in Social Media

Comparing how the highest achieving companies differ from the ones that gained the least on a business issue like social media is critical to gain insights into what companies should consider doing (best practices in social media). In our first analysis of ‘leaders’ and ‘followers,’ we used ROI– those with a positive return against all others (those with negative and unmeasured returns).

But we then realized that the ‘followers’ group would be penalized by the 44% of the survey population that hadn’t measured their return. We thought some of those 44% might actually have positive returns – if they had been able to measure them.

Thus, we turned to the 25th question in the survey, which asked the 655 respondents to assess the extent of benefits they achieved in 15 areas of performance on a scale of 1 to 5 (plus one in which they could fill in the blank with another measure).1 We termed as ‘leaders’ the respondents with individual cumulative scores of between 61 and 80, and ‘followers’ the respondents with scores between 16 and 45 (see Exhibit V-1). We had a similar proportion of leaders (27% of respondents) and followers (29%):

Exhibit V-1: Leaders vs. Followers in Benefits of Social Media

Exhibit V-1: Leaders vs. Laggards in Benefits of Social Media

We found that the leaders were the slightly larger companies, with average revenue of $15.6 billion as against the followers who had average revenue of $13.8 billion. Only 34% of the leaders were based in North America, even though 53% of the total respondents were based there. Some 36% of leaders were Asia-Pacific respondents (which constituted only 19% of the total respondent base). Some 15% were from Latin America.

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  1. For details on Q25, see the end of Section III []

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