Curated by Mathew Anthony for those who want to get, keep and grow their customers ... and some trending issues
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Leader, participant or observer: How “social” is your company?
It’s clear “everyone’s doing it” when it comes to marketers and social media – but that doesn’t mean everyone understands why. Examples of social media successes and failures abound, but with minimal standardization, it's not easy to benchmark one company's strategy against a competitor's, or the industry at large.
FedEx and PR and marketing agency Ketchum have a new study on the matter. Surveying more than 60 brands such as AT&T, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Chevron and GM, their research found marketers fall into three distinct buckets in terms of their social media efforts.
Most companies are participants
A majority (75%) of the companies surveyed were actively participating in social media. This participation was defined as
Having at least one social media specialist on staff, in addition to adding social media responsibilities to communications personnel
Relying on agency expertise in addition to the in-house staff
Integrating new social media tools only after they've been validated by market leaders or competitors
Integrating social media in some aspects of communication
Other companies are observers
Some 15% of the companies surveyed were considered social media observers, as opposed to actively participating. This observation was defined as
No in-house social media specialists - the focus is on agency expertise, and expanding the responsibilities of communications staff to include social media
Less usage of social tools and more emphasis on understanding the overall social landscape and how to operate in it effectively
Integration of social media in very few aspects of communication
Very few companies are social media leaders
Just 10% of the study respondents fell into the category of social media leadership. Being a social media leader was defined as
Having an in-house team of three or more social media specialists
Identifying and using new social media tools on an ongoing basis
Integrating social media in every aspect of communication
The three categories serve as one way to compare the strategies of various companies, as well as potentially benchmarking one's own efforts. For example, Skittles would definitely fall into the leadership category, with its test using social media content as its homepage and all the press that experiment generated. But being a leader doesn't always guarantee campaign efficacy, as we saw with the Update the Rainbow campaign.
So where does your company fall on the spectrum in terms of social media engagement? Are you a market leader, a participant, or an observer? Is there an advantage to being a leader vs. an observer? Do you think it varies by industry?
Econsultancy's Social Media and Online PR Report, produced in association with bigmouthmedia,is the most comprehensive study of its kind around the strategies, tactics and websites companies are using to harness social media for marketing, sales, customer service and other business objectives. The research, based on a survey of more than 800 companies, benchmarks budgets, resourcing, measurement and barriers to success ... plus much more.
Tameka Kee has been covering digital media with a focus on online advertising, social media and gaming since 2007. Find her at tamekakee.com or follow her on Twitter.