Despite the proliferation of corporate Facebook pages and Twitter accounts during the last couple of years, most businesses still effectively remain on the sidelines.  The gap between the early adopters and those waiting to take the plunge has actually widened.  While the average billion-dollar company spends $750,000 a year on social media, according to Bain & Company analysis, some early adopters such as Dell, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, JetBlue and American Express invest significantly more. In some instances, the investment is tens of millions of dollars. Who is right—the early adopters or the companies still waiting it out?

Bain research shows that several early adopters have captured real economic value from their investments.  As part of a broader customer engagement strategy, social media can be an effective and cost-efficient marketing, sales, service, insight and retention tool.  A recent survey of more than 3,000 consumers helped to identify what makes social media effective.  Bain found that customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20 percent to 40 percent more money with those companies than other customers.  They also demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to the companies, granting them an average 33 points higher Net Promoter® score (NPS®), a common measure of customer loyalty (see below, “NPS 101”).

Source:  Bain & Company