Altimeter interviewed 140 corporate social strategists to create a standard for categorizing programs into novice, intermediate and advanced maturity levels.
When asked about their programs, about half of respondents identified their programs as intermediate, while the rest were almost equally split between novice and advanced. The below graph is an overview of the priorities that each type of program should focus on. Read on for a more in-depth look at these goals.
The report includes an assessment guide for figuring out where your corporation stands in the social world. The assessment covers topics such as leadership and organization models, processes and policies, education programs, measurement techniques and technology adoption to rank where your business ranks in maturity. Check it out on page seven of the full embedded report below.
The average budget for novice social programs is $66,000, and an average team includes about 3.1 people in a centralized format, according to the report.
Programs in the novice stage are often just testing out or experimenting with social media. Altimeter’s report suggests that programs in this stage focus on organizational models, staffing and education programs. Here are some top tips:
- Organize for collaboration: Organize a team dedicated towards leading the company’s social initiatives. This centralized, core team should be tasked with creating social media policies, deploying education programs and implementing collaboration tools, with the overarching goal of helping team members share best practices and communicate effectively internally.
- Iron out response processes: Before launching elaborate social initiatives, like Facebook Pages and corporate blogs, take time to develop a triage system, which details who responds to customers in certain situations, and what they should and should not say.
- Invest in social monitoring: The beauty of social media is that it breaks down barriers between people. Now, more than ever, brands can easily see what consumers are saying about them online. That’s where listening comes in. Businesses in novice stage should invest in brand monitoring tools and act accordingly. Check out Alterian, Nielsen BuzzMetrics, Cymfony, Radian6, Scout Labs and Visible Technologies, for starters, the report suggests, and Crimson Hexagon, NetBase, SAS Social Media Analytics and Sysomos for a deeper dive into customer insights.
- Focus on scaling: As buy-in increases across a company, the core social team should aim to morph into a “hub and spoke model,” in which one central team (the “hub”) provides guidance to multiple, cross-functional “spokes,” who implement programs related to their own business units. This allows social programs to permeate throughout a business’s culture and become a part of each business unit’s programming.
- Invest in community programs: Inevitably, a brand’s community is larger than it’s social media team. In the intermediate stage, social programs should focus on empowering customers to “do the work for you.” Altimeter suggests identifying key influencers in your community through these activities and formalizing an advocacy program. Centering around word of mouth is generally a much more effective strategy than tasking a handful of social strategists to tweet away from headquarters.
- Adopt social media management systems: To manage content production and deployment, intermediate programs should scope out and adopt social media management systems. This will allow for more efficient dialogue with customers and among staffers. With these tools, creating highly engaged communities across the social web will be much more manageable.
- Prepare for total permeation: Whether a social program spreads to just key members in all business units, or to everyone in an entire organization, social media leaders should be prepared for social business to become a part of how every area of the business operates. Education will be key — businesses need to empower employees to get involved, while also clearly communicating guidelines and policies. Social education, then, cannot be an after-though — it needs to be part of standard employee on-boarding.
- Employ boutique social agencies: Instead of relying on traditional agencies for social media guidance and deployment, advanced social programs should begin scoping out the landscape of niche agencies that focus specifically on social business. These agencies can help with social management, campaign building and even change management.
- Integrate social into technology deployments: As an ongoing effort, advanced social programs must integrate social into each digital touchpoint across their businesses, including social customer relationship management (SCRM), social sign-on on corporate websites and social aggregation and curation.
Intermediate level social programs enjoy a budget of slightly more than $1 million and a team size of about 8.2 employees. As programs move into this stage, the focus should shift to scaling, getting community members more involved in social programs and increasing efficiency through social media management tools.
While advanced programs often entail having many more teammates (20.8 on average), their budgets aren’t much higher than those of intermediate programs, at around $1.3 million, according to the report. Larger corporations have the ability to support cross-functional teams, instead of fostering smaller groups of direct reports, which explains the huge leap in team members, but lack of proportional budgeting.
Once a social program becomes more advanced, the core goal should be increasing social media integration throughout the entire business. Here’s how to do that:
This overview is just a taste of how businesses should begin budgeting for corporate social media programs. View Altimeter Group’s full report below for a deep dive into best practices at each social program maturity level: