There’s no denying that social media has become a key part of corporate strategy for businesses across almost every industry. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute’s recent study, B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Budgets, Benchmarks and Trends, found that 74 percent of B2B marketers currently use social media, and the use of almost every social media channel is set to increase in 2012 with YouTube increasing 47 percent, LinkedIn increasing 39 percent, Twitter increasing 35 percent, and Facebook increasing 30 percent. But how do you know where your company lies in terms of social media implementation and effectiveness?
Forrester Research recently put out a report that strives to answer that very question and shows the empowering capabilities of social media tools that are changing the way customers and employees communicate and collaborate. In the report, Accelerating Your Social Maturity, Forrester ranks companies’ social media maturity on a five-part scale from dormant, to testing, to coordinating, to scaling and optimizing, and, finally, to empowering the workforce – as seen in the chart below:
According to Forrester analyst Sean Corcoran, this scale represents the common stages of change that companies go through as they adopt and use social technologies for business. Sean explains that most companies are still in the testing and coordinating stages whereas those who were early adopters of social media tools are now reaching the scaling and optimization stage. Only true innovators are at the empowering stage and have reached social media maturity.
Though, admittedly, social media is still quite new for many and requires a great deal of time and effort to become mature, this scale may help companies advance their social media strategies, implementations, and effectiveness. And, while companies shouldn’t expect to jump from the early stages of testing or coordinating up to stages of optimizing or empowering overnight, there is clear investment being directed at enhancing social media tactics and, with that investment, we can expect to see more and more companies making an impact with their social media presence in 2012 and beyond.