Reliability and Validity of Social Media Marketing Research

Social Media Logos

Image provided by Sean McClogan on Flickr

Validity is the degree to which your assumption (construct or hypothesis) is measured by your chosen method of measurement.  Basically does your research project (the type of data gathered and the means of gathering that data) truly measure that which it is intended to measure?
Reliability is how consistently your chosen method of measurement produces the same results.  To elaborate on that ideal, reliability is also estimated by whether or not the results of your research can be reproduced under a similar methodology.
Testing the reliability and validity of social media as effective marketing channels for organizations.  The term social media refers to web 2.0 applications such as social network sites such as Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, blogs, wikis and Twitter (microblogging).  One can assume that not all social media is a useful marketing channel in every organization.  For example, a musician would benefit more from using YouTube as a marketing channel than would a photographer.  The photographer would more than likely benefit from using Flickr than from using YouTube.
One can implement a marketing campaign utilizing a social media application and measure the validity of the social media(SM) as an effective means of marketing for the organization.  The SM’s effectiveness could be based on a measurement of “total response” to the campaign.
From a reliability perspective it can be asked, how reliable is the use of “total response” as a reliable measurement of the effectiveness of a social media marketing campaign for an organization.  If a marketing research firm conducted research of a client’s use of MySpace, in its marketing campaign, and the research results showed that MySpace was very effective way of marketing; would another marketing firm’s research yield the same results if all of the parameters in their research were identical?

The Inc. 500

The Inc. 500

In early 2007 the results of a groundbreaking study into the adoption of social media
within the Inc. 500, an elite group of the fastest-growing companies within the United
States, were released. As one of, if not the first studies of corporate social media adoption
with statistical significance, it proved conclusively that social media was coming to the
business world and sooner than many anticipated.  Now, approximately one year later,
that same group was studied again in an effort to look at longitudinal change in the
adoption of these digital communication tools.

Social Media in the Inc. 500: The First Longitudinal Study


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