Companies still not strategic around social media strategy: Report

New Altimeter Group report on the State of Social Business finds only half of senior executives are informed, engaged or aligned with social strategy

Most organisations are at an ‘intermediate’ stage when it comes to social business maturity, and less than one-fifth can boast of being truly strategic in executing social strategy, a new report claims.

According to Altimeter Group’s The State of Social Business: 2013: The Maturing of Social Media into Social Business, the lack of clear leadership, organisation and strategy means many organisations are still experiencing ‘social anarchy’ when social media strategy is siloed or uncoordinated.

Just over one-quarter of respondents were found to have a holistic social media approach, and nearly half claimed top executives are not informed, engaged or aligned with social strategy (48 per cent).

Altimeter’s formula for understanding an organisation’s social media prowess is divided into six stages: Planning, Presence, Engagement, Formalised, Strategic, and Converged. Currently, 80 per cent of respondents claim to at least have a presence in social, but only 17 per cent consider themselves to be at the higher end of social business maturity. Only 3 per cent claimed to be at the ‘Converged’ stage, while the majority are either at Engagement or Formalised (26 per cent of respondents each).

The research group claims these steps are a good way for organisations to measure and track their strategic social media progress.

Employees also continue to lack sufficient training, with the result that social media policies remain a significant risk area, the report authors stated. The latest report found just 18 per cent of companies have employees with a good or very good understanding of social media policies, and 39 per cent are offering ad-hoc education around social media training. Twenty-two per cent don’t have any training.

Coping with social media’s unpredictability
Tapping into social experience: Tourism Australia’s CMO Nick Baker
Aussie brands failing to embrace digital real-time customer service

Across respondents, three-quarters reported having a dedicated social media team, with 40 per cent reporting to marketing, followed by corporate communications/PR (26 per cent). The report noted there are 13 different departments around the organisation with staff working on social initiatives, adding further weight to the relative immaturity of social media strategy.

In an indication of how important social is becoming, however, Altimeter found more organisations are committed to increasing social media headcount across the organisation, with the biggest jump not surprisingly being in companies with more than 100,000 employees. In these organisations, an average of 49 full-time employees support social media, compared with 20 in 2010.

In organisations with fewer than 5000 employees, the average number of staff dedicated to supporting social media is 3.1.

In addition, 61 per cent said social strategy is connected to business goals and outcomes, and 52 per cent claim to have articulated a long-term vision for how social media will improve customer relationships.

Another notable result is that 34 per cent of respondents have clear metrics being used throughout the organisation that associate social activities to business outcomes.

Topping the list of social priorities are engagement, integrating data and training/education. When it comes to the top three external social media objectives, content marketing leads the list (57 per cent of responses), followed by sustaining an ongoing dialogue and engagement with customers (50 per cent) and listening/learning from customers (41 per cent).

Altimeter Group’s latest report combines surveys of between 65-144 companies in the US with at least 500 employees from both Q4, 2012 and Q3, 2013.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook:

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

What happens when the 'market' becomes a 'customer'?

One of the insightful things that has been said to me recently came from an independent consultant working at a major FMCG client. He said: “The problem here is that we have some people who are world-class at marketing to the masses, but they haven’t got a clue about how to speak to a customer.”

3 Metrics to measure B2B content marketing ROI

Content marketing has become a key pillar for marketing departments of all sizes across the world. But how do you measure – and ultimately prove – the effectiveness of the time, money and energy spent on content marketing?

How global brands can connect on a local level

The dot-com boom allowed brands to easily access the global market. Thanks to this increased exposure and worldwide awareness, brands can no longer exist in a local bubble.

Dan Ratner

managing director, Uberbrand

Informative comments , I loved the info , Does anyone know if my assistant could get ahold of a blank 2011 IRS 8804 - Schedule A document...


Telstra unveils fresh digital content media services

Read more

So, the one thing I would say is .. the customer already has a voice, whether you wanted them to have one or not .. and they have a platf...

Paul Gilbert

Why digital strategy equals customer experience

Read more

Appliances online are doing a good job online, but they're still not giving customers a truly powerful online experience in my view. Wher...

Graham Howlett

Navigating the future of omni-channel retailing

Read more

For both businesses and marketers alike who want a digital marketing platform that supports data visualization, integrated analytics and ...


Adobe to bolster analytics capabilities of Marketing Cloud with Digital Analytix acquisition

Read more

Good Content is a crucial part in Marketing ROI. No doubt metrics like sharing & engagement, consumption, & lead generation &...


3 Metrics to measure B2B content marketing ROI - B2B marketing - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in