New service designed to track business' social efforts

Google+ helped earn the media giant the second-place spot on a list of the top companies for social media integration

p>Entrepreneurs have undoubtedly heard the drumbeats praising the importance of social media integration, perhaps from even their own merchant account manager. That type of outreach can be especially helpful for e-commerce businesses looking to engage customers in the hopes of establishing a long-term business relationship. Subscription-based websites that require high-risk merchant accounts, for instance, could benefit in particular.

However, until recently there has not been a definitive collection that outlines the world's top websites when it comes to social media integration. One social business data firm claims its new list accomplishes just that.

On Tuesday, the Dachis Group announced the launch of the Social Business Index. Accessible at socialbusinessindex.com, the system scores major companies on their ability to engage consumers effectively through social media, and also analyzes those businesses' success in converting networking traffic into faithful customers.

“The underlying platform that powers the Social Business Index is unique in its ability to provide closed loop [return on investment] analysis for brand marketing outcomes,” said Erik Huddleston, Dachis Group chief technology officer. “This is a unique lens through which to view and measure the success of companies' consumer engagement activities in social.”

Unsurprisingly, media giants Facebook and Google were one and two, respectively, on the list. Both companies operate their own popular social media networks, including the eponymous Facebook and Google+.

However, the top 10 included commerce and retail websites such as Coinstar, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores and Whole Foods Market. Major consumer brands Adidas, Nike and Procter and Gamble were on the list, along with media conglomerates News Corporation and Time Warner.

If nothing else, the list may show e-commerce merchants the value of a social media strategy as part of a retail marketing approach. Experts note businesses can employ such a solution successfully if they use high-quality content to covey a clear and communicable purpose that encourages consumer participation.

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