Marketing Musings, Social Media
I recently attended a social media strategist seminar hosted by Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang). He talked about the kinds of roles social media strategists were taking on in large companies, and discussed a number of different topics. I’d like to highlight a couple of them here.
Jeremiah ran a survey of corporate social media strategists, and asked them to describe the development of their social media programs. He gathered their responses in the slide below.
I know it can be easy to feel as though social media has been around a long time, but the truth is that it hasn’t. Of the 140 strategists surveyed, 62% reported that their program has existed for two years or less. Clearly, companies are just getting started deploying social media programs.
Now, looking at the right side of the slide, I see that 23% of those surveyed say their program is Mature or Advanced. This tells me that some strategists of the newer programs are calling their programs Mature or Advanced. This isn’t impossible. With an aggressive plan, one could certainly have a very mature social media content program, but I’d advise companies to consider whether they really have it figured out. I think creating mature social media content takes time, trial and error, and the understanding that social media is a process.
Jeremiah compared the current state of social media to where the web was back in 1997. It’s certainly not brand new to us, but we have much to learn about strategies, best practices, and engagement.
Jeremiah also focused on the ways that companies are organizing their social media efforts. Below are the different models he found in their social media programs.
Usually when you see something like this, the first question you ask is “which is best?” I’d like to respond with the “it depends” answer, but I’ll just say that Holistic really provides the best possible social media program. In this model, everyone in the company is empowered to utilize social media for the business, represent the company on the Internet, and engage in online communications. Very few companies use this model, though Zappos is probably a good example. It can be scary to give all employees this much power, but the fact is they have it in the real world already, so why not train, educate, and help them transition to the virtual world?
Most often, you will see companies using the Centralized and Distributed model. Centralized is good if you want a very cohesive message/branding or you are using social media primarily as a news distribution vehicle. This model may lack some authenticity, though. Distributed is common in companies that often tell their employees to go for it. You have different people doing different social media communications and in varying amounts. This can be good for gaining authenticity, but bad for cohesiveness.
The Coordinated model is good because it gives social media a chance to make its way throughout the company while still maintaining a center to help drive it forward. Out of that model comes the Multiple Hub and Spoke, which has a place in very large companies.
Based on your experience with social media in corporations, what kinds of models have you seen? Do you think you’d describe the programs as mature or just getting started? I’d love to see some comments on these slides.