Measuring social media success goes beyond counting likes and friends, Hearsay says.

Hearsay Social says many financial services firms need to grow up, in a matter of speaking, to boost their business impact via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Early Wednesday, it launched a benchmarking tool that can be used to guide firms to make such improvements: the Social Business Maturity Model.

“This gives organizations the opportunity … to assess how they are doing at enabling advisors and other professionals in their buildout of a social media program and at delivering value within the social-media framework,” said Abhay Rajaram, vice president of global customer success, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor. “It’s an objective way to benchmark [your organization] and see how it compare with others in the industry.”

The model is less about crunching numbers, say that measure how well advisors are doing at acquiring friends or posting on Facebook, and more about assessing where firms can take action to improve results. “It is well defined, with seven practice areas for measuring organizations,” he said.

This means assessing how active the top executives at a firm are in “championing” social-media programs, for instance, and whether or not a firm has a dedicated team working on content strategy.

By knowing its Social Business Maturity score, a company can see where it is vis-à-vis its peers and then put together “an actionable roadmap” to move along to the “next level of [social-media] maturity,” according to Hearsay.

“We not only analyzed a tremendous amount of information to develop the Social Business Maturity Model, we also took into consideration the challenges unique to the financial services industry, such as compliance and user adoption across large networks of distributed teams,” Rajaram stated.

Some of Hearsay’s 100-plus clients are already on board.

“The standardized evaluation process provided by the Social Business Maturity Model better enables companies to pinpoint areas where they excel, as well as areas of focus to move toward greater business value,” said Corina Roy, an assistant vice president with MassMutual, in a statement.

The seven key practice areas that Hearsay has identified as being “imperative to social business success” involve having:

  • A project team dedicated to the social business program
  • Active championship and sponsorship at the C-suite level
  • A robust content marketing strategy
  • Firmwide adoption
  • Continuing engagement and education for individual users
  • Integration with other digital initiatives
  • Measurement of progress to plan and of value against set key performance indicators.

“As organizations understand and identify – in partnership with us – the areas to continue improvements on in each practice area – they can see the clear value [in benchmarking] that translates down to the advisors themselves,” said Rajaram.

“The model lets firms work in ways that realize this value, and that is what ultimate success looks like for a financial services firm,” he added.

(Several Hearsay Social staffers have contributed blog posts to ThinkAdvisor.)

— Check out Hearsay Social Wants to Help Advisors Predict Client Behavior on ThinkAdvisor.