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Denise Beckmann - Denise Beckmann is the Senior Digital Marketing Professional for IBM Worldwide. In this position, she serves as a member of the IBM Digital Strategy Team and leads IBM's core search strategy pilot tests. Denise travels globally to help country marketing teams integrate digital and traditional methods into cohesive localized execution plans. She has over a decade of personal experience running analytics teams at GTE Wireless and IBM.

Why Social Media Matters for Your Business

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Many marketers focus on measuring digital for a specific objective. Let's spend some time trying to understand the responses captured in IBM's 2011 CMO study and what social media returns within digital marketing.  

Why did 85% of the 1700 CMOs interviewed say they use social media as a communications channel and yet only 14% of them measure the ROI? Could it be that companies are not measuring because they believe that social is free?  

First I challenge the concept of free. It takes time and commitment to manage a social presence much the same as a strong sales executive manages his clients. Building good skills is absolutely required. Not every expert is an acceptable writer. Not every writer has the experience to answer questions as an expert.  

Instead, look for the right person with the right expertise and commitment. Then allow them to build skills while you measure the outcomes. The value of social media is the trust created through real people engaging in authentic dialogue.

The good news, the only cost to companies for social engagement is the time people spend. Compare that to the funding required for earned media impressions through radio, TV and print. Social can leverage much of the same content if use the language used by real people, we call this outside-in.

Then there's the advantage of customization. In paid media we buy impressions to a general audience. Social media helps earn impressions when search engines recognize the content is highly relevant to a keyword and being share across social networks.

Companies measure the quality of our content by the number of times it is shared. Re-tweets pointing to content are measured, getting trusted personal referral traffic to the web pages. Links are even better. We measure the number of other authoritative sites creating links back to our content on their sites.

With the right marketing tools, CMOs can use social media to earn valuable media and deliver ROI. They can follow the thread from impressions to new business leads to revenue gains - all from that initial investment in skills and time. Investment in people pays off.

1_Social CMO.pngDiscover more. Click to view our infographic on how CMOs are using technology to measure ROI.

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Video: Perspectives from Global CMOs