A recently published report by Forrester Research presented a ‘Social Media Maturity Model’ identifying the process of change that most organisations go through in their adoption of social technologies. While the research was based on large organisations, the results have implications for all of us, including SMEs.
Five key stages of Social Media Maturity were identified with advice being given on how to accelerate the process of change from one stage to the next.
Laggards: the dormant stage. Forrester estimates that one in five companies is currently not using any social media. Dormant companies tend to be highly conservative, heavily regulated, or just not interested
Late Majority: the testing stage. Companies who are ‘testing the water’ with social media; often with uncoordinated initiatives being launched by different parts of the organisation. This can often lead to ‘distributed chaos’
Early Majority: the coordinating stage. The point where management begin to recognise the risks and rewards of social media with resources and a governance structure being put in place to create a consistent approach across the organization, from ‘distributed chaos’ to a more centralized approach
Early Adopters: the scaling and optimizing stage. Companies like Starbucks, Best Buy, and Coca Cola who have already coordinated their social organization and are now focusing on optimizing their social media activities – from improved processes to more advanced metrics to integration with other marketing activity
Innovators: empowering their employees. At this stage, all relevant employees have been trained and empowered to use social media – essentially ‘organized distribution’ – though centers of excellence are still needed. Only a few companies have entered this stage but the expectation is that many more will need to follow over the next year or so.
Laggards: develop and implement ‘small victories’ that can be used as case studies to get the ball moving.
Late Majority: a knowledgeable and experienced ‘shepherd’ is required to help coordinate social media efforts across the organization
Early Majority: to move beyond this stage, it is recommended that a steering committee, comprising key stakeholders, should be set up to develop a foundation of shared resources, policies, processes, and budget in place for the long term so that the focus can shift to optimizing results
Early Adopters: The next big step for this group is to determine who within the organization is best suited for using social applications to solve customer problems and for the shepherd to help lead the creation of a plan for empowering all relevant employees with social media
Innovators: Focus on making it work
As usual, comment and feedback are very welcome.
Where does your organisation sit in terms of Social Media Maturity and what do you need to do to move to the next stage?
Jim, Alan, Vincent