Last week, the Dachis Group launched a tool called the Social Business Index. Fundamentally, the Social Business Index attempts to determine a brand’s social business prowess. According to the firm’s press release, the Social Business Index “provides ongoing real-time ranking, analysis, and benchmarking of Social Business adoption and performance of the most connected and engaged companies” (full release). The Index is built on top of Dachis Group’s Social Business Intelligence as a Service (SBIaaS) data services platform, and looks at influencers, market, employees, company overall and partners to deliver scores to its users.
The site’s landing page gives users several pieces of information including the top 20 companies in the Index, the top industry performers, which companies are moving up or down in the Index, a company snapshot and a graph showing the performance of five different industries in the Index. New users of the Index can sign up by entering their company name and filling out some basic contact information.
While providing some interesting information to users, a review of the output raises some questions.
- If a company achieves the status of social business, wouldn’t that require looking at internally and externally facing metrics? This Index appears to be looking at only externally facing metrics based on our review.
- One of the components of the Index is employees, but is that measuring only externally facing employee activity?
- If so, what is the threshold a company would need to achieve to be considered strong in the area of employee engagement in social media?
- Similarly, what social networks does the Index look at to calculate that score?
- Is the overall score weighted in some way?
- For example, in the final analysis, does any one metric receive greater attention?
- What is the minimum and maximum score? Said another way, how is a strong (or weak) social business defined?
- Related to the market metric, it is not entirely clear what that encompasses. Is it the competitive category? If it is the competitive category, there remains a question of why there is significant volatility within a specific category. For example, Google and Yahoo! have very different market scores yet are clear competitors in the same space.
- How is this influence defined?
- Is that a proprietary algorithm?
- Does it encompass how influential the brand is on its community?
- How are the influencers defined?
- What percentage of the score is attributable to influence?
- How does a partner differ from a market?
- What metrics go into defining partnership scores?
- Is it fair to say that if a partner isn’t “social,” that the company who is a social business gets punished?
- How are blogs captured in this algorithm?
- Is blog prowess captured in the influencer algorithm?
- Is some form of sentiment scoring captured in the algorithm?
- What if a group of influencers is largely negative about a brand?
- Is a brand penalized in the final analysis?
- Does the analysis take into account the traditional media coverage – whether favorable or unfavorable?
- In looking at the top 10, two data points – influence and partner – are seemingly consistent with every brand. Why is that? Shouldn’t there be volatility in the data if we’re looking at very different companies?
The million-dollar question is can social business be quantified? Whether it is possible or not is still open for debate, but any social business algorithm would need to incorporate internal and external metrics, as well as a significant amount of quantitative and qualitative analysis. While the Social Business Index is an attempt to quantify social business, there are a number of open questions that require more information before it can be truly considered more than just interesting information.
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