Big business appears to be committed to social media. The 2009 Tribalization of Business Study, released by Deloitte LLP’s Technology, Media & 1158726_business_building_series_7Telecommunications practice points out that 94% of businesses continue to invest in online communities and by extension, social media. And about 40% of companies are demonstrating their commitment to this activity by assigning more people to manage the communities. While 2008 was all about measuring the size of a business’s online community, this year,  managers are looking at other metrics.

For large corporations, two important metrics for determining success are:

  • Number of active users 34%
  • Level of user engagement – such as posting/commenting 32%

According to Deloitte analysts, most businesses believe that the marketing is the force that drives the community. Specifically, managers hope for the following outcomes:

  • Increased word-of-mouth 38%
  • Increased customer loyalty 34%
  • Increased brand awareness 30%

Yet managers are also hoping that online communities will improve idea generation (29%) and customer support quality (23%). These findings suggest that businesses plan to use communities not only to market but also to innovate faster and reduce costs.  To meet all of these various goals, Ed Moran, director of product innovation, Deloitte Services LP notes that business leaders must “move beyond viewing them [social media and online communities] as ‘bolt-ons’ to their corporations.” He suggests that putting new management strategies in place will help companies expand traditional boundaries.

[Source: 2009 Tribalization of Business Study, Deloitte LLP release, 10.05.09]