The Business Value of Social Media


Deirdre Walsh recently was a guest speaker in my class at The University of Texas at Austin. Deidre is a friend, ex-student of mine and now a nationally recognized expert in the digital/social media sphere and its application to business. As the manager of social media at National Instruments, she recently posted a blog post about the value of social media, “Business Value of 140 Characters.” We at Pierpont express the same value to our clients and are proud to share Deirdre’s following social media insights with you all. Enjoy!


“Today’s social web provides great insight into what is being said about your organization, products, markets and even the competition. By tracking important wikis, forums, blogs and other Web content, you can now engage customers and prospects to quickly identify opportunities and threats, share them in real time, and collaboratively respond. If done correctly, you can help develop your company’s brand WITH your customers.


Your public relations team is probably doing a great job monitoring online conversations; however, much of their gathered intelligence often lives in a vacuum. It commonly gets buried in inboxes, servers or is shared in a silo among team members who have access to expensive social media monitoring tools.


Additionally, with the “old school” PR model, few employees beyond marketing or support teams are even empowered to actively engage customers and help develop the corporate reputation. At National Instruments, this was a problem. As the social media manager I am responsible for listening, responding and tracking key conversations. I needed a better method than spreadsheets, emails and stand-alone listening services that charge by the keyword. I needed a way to bridge the conversations happening inside and outside the firewall. I developed the following 6 Steps to Social Media Monitoring.


  1. Collect information;
  2. Filter to determine if the conversation meets our goals;
  3. Engage the subject matter experts;
  4. Respond;
  5. Assign sentiment (Is it neutral or troublesome?); and
  6. Analyze (for action).

While 140 characters seems minute, there is a huge opportunity when you listen, empower your employees and customers to respond, and utilize the insight gained to make real business decisions.”