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Benchmarking Social Community Investments: Best Practices & Galaxy Vendor Evaluations

This publication has been discontinued on May 2, 2013.



Hypatia Research, LLC categorizes enterprise social media technology as an integrated suite of social media software tools or an online platform architecture designed to facilitate communication with groups, communities and/or individuals at the same time. Unlike person-to-person emails, social channels are generally defined as one-to-many or many-to-many channels.

Hypatia's Key Findings

Respondents cited customer satisfaction and customer retention as the top two ROI metrics utilized within their organizations. More than one-fourth cited achieving an annual ROI between1/2% to 2%. Most companies doing social media attempt to track ROI on a regular basis, but 15% do not attempt to measure it at all. The expected return on social media reported by over 300 survey respondents varies widely from less than 1/2% to over 20%. What differentiates social media platforms isn't usually one major feature or characteristic. It's the collection of features and technologies that enable organizations to create rich and flexible social environments for their customers, partners or public brand. Social media software vendors provide services ranging from strategic consulting to community management. Services most heavily requested are strategic planning, setup and implementation.

Over the past few years, as businesses seek to engage customers via social media, many have invested in social media software. In response, software vendors have developed suites or platforms of integrated social media applications to enable organizations to more quickly create social communities with a range of features and collaborative channels.

Social media software was developed to faciliate online conversations between businesses and their customers, partners, and future-stakeholders as well as to provide outlets for customers to share information with each other. Hypatia reviewed nearly two dozen enterprise-level social media platforms vendors. Each offers various tools that enable organizations to create a variety of social venues for customers to utilize on either a corporate web site or on public networking sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace etc... A majority of these social media tools address at least two or more of these four business areas.

  • Customer Service & Support
  • Product Innovation & Ideation
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer Analysis, Profiling & Segmentation
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