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Social learning failed and the business metrics didn’t warn us about it

We generally believe that a socially cohesive group is a collective group. If you view engagement as being technological engagement, then activity is sufficient. However, if you view engagement as people who work with each other in a productive manner with teamwork, then social cohesion and similar actions are necessary.

Social Network Community Managers warned about issues with enterprise social networking metrics

There is a major discrepancy between what executives want and what’s been commonly measured in business social network settings. This discrepancy may be due to the legacy of social analytics that the consumer world developed. These lessons shouldn’t be used today in a company collaboration effort.

The problem is that activity measures are generally built-in with Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs). ESNs are the result of consumer social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. When I was in marketing at various large consumer goods companies, we used these benchmarks to evaluate the amount of interactions.

However, these activity-based benchmarks have now traveled to ESNs and vendors tend to promote the activities as “measures of engagement.” They are the built-in measurement tools that are already familiar to executives. However, they are the wrong measures.

A look at partnership, interactions and empowerment

Here’s the issue. When well-known researchers and consultants took a look at the top executives of big companies, they discovered a few expectations the companies had about internal social platforms.

• The most significant point of social media technologies is who and what is empowered, not the data that’s being swapped.

• The important point of success is how well relationships are managed and kept up with suppliers, partners, and customers.

• Social tools that promote teamwork using real-time interactions and that are accessible through an array of platforms are seen as valuable.

There is nothing about social media views, follows, likes, and common activity measures that are linked to consumer social media. This is why there’s such a discrepancy between what’s being measured and what the business wants. When analytics are used for media consumption instead of collaboration, there are misplaced efforts to boost adoption.

Social Learning: An assessment of the discrepancy

What kind of impact is being felt with the discrepancy?

• There’s no link between response rate and activity levels. You might naturally assume that the more activity a network has, the more likely that the posts are being addressed. Surely these companies respond to posts. The real surprise is that there’s no real link between responses and activity levels.

• Some say that social cohesion is the measure that separates businesses in the benchmarking sample. Social cohesion is an IMPORTANT health indicator. However, it’s important to note that there is no link between social cohesion and activity levels.
Enterprise social network activity measurements are not the answer

Basically, if you depend on activity processes to help you in your relationship and collaboration building efforts, they won’t be truly effective. Social cohesion is considered a demonstration of collaborative performance.

What’s the answer?

Consider the bigger business impact required and the social collaboration that’s required. Instead of using social networks technology in isolation and measuring ESNs discretely, measure what will drive business results.

Furthermore, rather than track likes and follows, a by-product of the herculean task of employees ESN adoption, I believe we have an opportunity to slowly adapt workforce behaviour with integrated social network tools that don’t feel like “just one more task on my list to do.” Consider the world where our collaboration is easy and seamless (i.e. not through email!) and ESNs have adapted components that effortless fit into our other everyday tools.

My question to you is “What, in your opinion, do you think is the logical solution to measure effectiveness? What would you like to see as a “built-in tool” that can measure the impact on the business? In my mind, the metric that eventually gets to profit growth is ideal.

What do you think?

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