Few brands have reached the level of sophistication that consulting firm Vivaldi Partners Group (VPG) calls "social currency." Social currency, says VPG, is made up of six attributes: utility, advocacy, information, identity, affiliation and conversation.
VPG looks at the impact or brand performance of social currency by measuring the following conversions: awareness to consideration, consideration to purchase or use, and purchase to loyalty. In the firm's 2013 Social Currency Impact Study, VPG ranks the Top 25 brands based on responses from consumers in the U.S., UK, and Germany. The top 5 brands, from 1 to 5, were Subway, Google, Target, Heineken, and Verizon.
VPG notes, "Achieving top scores in social currency and driving brand performance is expensive. ...Brand performance requires continuous commitment and continuity. ...If there is a universal success factor, it is the degree of engagement that a brand achieves through social currency that really matters."
Your brand may not be in a position to have a big impact in all six of the above-mentioned attributes, but knowing what they are and how big brands employ them is a significant step in the right direction. And every brand, big or small, can benefit from using VPG's measurement criteria (conversions of awareness to consideration, consideration to purchase or use, and purchase to loyalty) to determine the effectiveness of their social media usage.