Who values it and what is the value of social business?

The ROI and value of social business appears to be of greater and lesser importance to different groups. Certaintly the opinion of representatives from large companies like AMP, Deloitte, and Westfield at a recent Yammer industry event in Sydney that I attended was that ROI isn’t a big concern to them, because the evidence of its value internally is self-evident.

I still think this issue is a valid one to track and I spotted a couple of interesting surveys this week:

Firstly, an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey identified six types of socially engaged enterprises and the average business value return in each (the highest group reported an average 7.7% return). 


Source: The Economics of the Socially Engaged Enterprise, based on a survey by the EIU of 329 responses in North America only.

The other interesting data reported in MIT Sloan Management Review looked at attitudes towards social business by size. They conclude that size matters, with the smallest (< 1,000 staff) and largest companies (> 100,000 staff) seeing the most value.


I’m still thinking about this data – particularly in the light of my thoughts about why social business matters to Australian companies and organisations, who unless they are part of a large multinational would fall into the bottom end of this spectrum. However, I’m not convinced this data tells the whole story as its all about perception and actual value.

Source: Size Matters in Social Business Adoption.



4 thoughts on “Who values it and what is the value of social business?

  1. I really like this framework, I wonder if as social engagement increases, there is some sort of diminished returns effect though?

  2. Nick – I suspect there could be, at least without actually redesigning organisations to be social businesses, rather than simply adopting social tools and methods.

  3. I didn’t think of considering that transformation. We’re about to start a project around this actually, thanks for the post – great concept to consider.

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