Do We Need a Social Index for Businesses?

Last month, the Dachis Group launched a public version of its Social Business Index as a way to measure and analyze the social influence of brands in real-time. Less than a month into its launch the company has gathered a lot of attention from the likes of Tech Crunch, AdWeek and Edelman Digital. There certainly are a lot of questions. For one, do we need this? And second, is it legitimate?

In terms of the need for it, yes, it’s an interesting way to benchmark brands and its early days for the index. Before the index existed taking a look across multiple platforms was time-consuming and, frankly, quite biased if you were doing this for your own interest. The index looks to create a “neutral” view of brands based on the back office technology it is using. This can be helpful, but it also needs to be accurate and fair. As time goes on I’ll be following what the Dachis Group is doing to improve and expand the service.

So is this a legitimate tool for you to use? That’s hard to tell since companies that do this type of analysis keep their formula mostly secret. The most well known indicator of online influence these days is Klout. The service is focused on individuals for the moment, but brands can take advantage of Klout as well. Klout has its detractors, but people can opt out of Klout. An advantage — or disadvantage depending on your point of view — of the Social Business Index is that if you’re a brand you have no choice — you will be measured against your competitors. In order to build on the influence of this tool I’m hoping the Dachis Group continues to reveal more about its metrics and analysis.

From what I’ve seen so far I like the index (One reason is that we rank quite well as a brand against our competition). Yes, there are a lot of questions that remain but surely Dachis will continue to improve what they have created. It’s not perfect. None of the metric and measurement tools that exist are perfect, so don’t think of this as a way to solve any content or competitive issues. It’s simply a tool to give you a view of your industry.

So what can you do?

First, if you’re company is not listed you should register it. Once you do so you can gain access to a handful of ways to compare your company against the competition. My hope is that Dachis Group will build out the metrics portion of the index, and even offer for purchase more detailed information on their scores.

Second, you should discuss the index with your team. Keep in mind that this is a view into the social side of your business only. I have always held the point of view that social media needs to play a part of your overall brand strategy — it’s not a silver bullet. If you are falling behind the competition in social media, yet, track far ahead of them in other marketing measures you will need to assess how important it is. On the other hand, if you are far ahead of your competition in social media, yet are behind in other areas you should decide how to integrate everything better. But these are decisions for you to make. The advantage is that you now have a new tool to help in your discussion and decision process.

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