Exec Support Critical to Retail Social Media Initiatives

September 9, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Metrics | Media & Entertainment | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media | Technology

Executive support is the leading adoption capability of retailers launching social media initiatives, according to a new report from Aberdeen Group.

Internal Resources Drive Social Media Adoption
Findings from “Social Media ROI” indicate that when retailers adopt social media as a marketing tool, they primarily look within the company for drivers. The leading capability of retailers adopting social media, executive support (64%), entails bringing an enterprise-wide perspective from high-ranking company officials, which can help quantify ROI and determine benefits beyond the marketing department.


The second-most-common capability, dedicated resources/team (47%), also draws upon internal assets to drive social media adoption. Dedicated resources may include human capital as well as technology. Another 25% rely at least in part on analytics resources devoted to leveraging social media data.

The only leading capability with a direct external focus is having marketing executives meet and talk regularly with customers to ascertain their needs (33%). The other two leading capabilities, having a clear understanding of which marketing channels are most effective (31%), and regular monitoring of social media performance against cost/budget (30%), combine internal and external focus.

Social Networks Leading Enabler
Social networks such as Facebook are the dominant enabler of retailers’ social media marketing efforts, with 85% of retailers launching such efforts using social networks. Microblogging sites such as Twitter, which are strictly text-based and enforce tight limits on characters, follow with 51% usage.


Full blogging sites, which work like microblogging sites without the character restrictions, are used by 43% of retailers in their social media initiatives. Online video widgets and product commenting are both used by 38% of retailers with a social media campaign. Two of these enablers, microblogging and product commenting, easily align with efforts to monitor customer opinions and reactions.

Marketers Use Varying ROI for Social Media
Looking beyond the retail vertical, marketers across verticals use a wide array of metrics to measure return on investment (ROI) from social media campaigns, according to a new study from King Fish Media, Hubspot and Junta 42. Results from “Social Media Usage, Attitudes and Measurability” indicate that out of quantitative measure and techniques marketers are using to measure the ROI of social media campaigns, the most popular directly measure the number of people responding.

Meanwhile, in their use of qualitative metrics, marketers are most apt to measure the impact social media campaigns have on customer relationships.

About the Data: Between July and August 2010, Aberdeen surveyed 65 retailers regarding their use of social media to interact with customers.

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