Altimeter’s State of Social Business has been around for a couple months now and it is a must read as you consider matters related to social media adoption across business. A big thanks to Brian Solis and Charlene Li for continuing to pioneer this space and track it. From my days at Dell we counted on being in touch with Charlene, Brian and the Altimeter team for their helpful insights and directions that kept us moving forward.
Altimeter’s recent report on the state of social business shows that more and more people within a business and more and more departments across a business continue to become active in social media, although, in some cases, the lack of leadership, organization and strategy may also be hindering business in achievement of real results as many experience siloed and uncoordinated efforts.
On the other hand, a way to get past this kind of lack of coordination is to establish a social media team, and in the Altimeter report about “78% of companies have a dedicated social media team — with 22% having them at both the corporate and division level.” Many of the teams are expanding. In just the last few years employees dedicated to social media responsibilities are now found in at least 13 departments from customer support to advertising to user experience, IT, legal and market research.
The challenges: Some of the challenges that Altimeter finds companies facing are related to risk management, which can often go hand-in-hand with the lack of proper training for employees and situations where customer-facing community policies have not been put in place to help manage risks.
Integration of social across various business functions for wide variety of business purposes is a primary area for continuing to enable employees. However, if the business expects real results and business benefits, then serious consideration should be given to ensuring employees have the skill sets and training appropriate to meet business expectations.
According to Altimeter, aligning executive support continues to be a challenge, is not fully realized and further limits growth and wholistic use of social media to achieve improved business relationships with customers.
As is seen in this chart from Altimeter, the average number of staff (based on total employees in company) ranges from 20 to nearly 50 people engaged in social efforts across up to 13 departments. That in itself is a good size group to make sure any business understands and is aligned around the individual employees’ level of social media expertise and preparedness to deliver on what the business hopes for.
If your company has that many employees across numerous departments using social media, you might find SME² to be a helpful tool for aligning efforts to ensure effective deployment of skills and talents across your business. SME² works with your organization to identify what social expertise and what level of expertise you have on hand – based on more than 30 predefined skill sets and levels that we have identified as critical for effective social media programs. This skill and talent assessment informs your social media plans, and your ability to deliver what you envisage.
Understanding the social media expertise within your organizations and how it is deployed is critical to ensuring your business is delivering social media excellence.
Just yesterday, Marketing Profs had yet another post on the “State of Digital Marketing Talent: Skills Lacking, Specialists Needed” Do you know whether you have a talent gap?
Combine the continuing studies highlighting the need for capable digital marketers with the concept that “people are our number one resource” and it may be time to take some action to evaluate and assess the breadth and depth of social media skills across your organization. Once you understand your organization’s social media skills and competency levels you can then determine how best to proceed in order to deliver excellence in social media.
To realize success as social communicators, social marketers or as a business undertaking initiatives and programs to become a social business several recent studies underscore the importance of understanding your own organizations’ social media skills or competency base in order to make informed decisions about social strategy and how to implement it effectively.
If you don’t have the people with the skills and talents, then you can dream up the best social strategy in the world and fall short of delivery and results. SME² offers you the tools and support to actually look at your talent and assess how well your business is positioned to realize success in social media. SME2 connects your social strategy with your people and organization to give you the insights that are critical to delivering social media excellence.
SME2 is not about general social media employee training. It is about assessing and acting on the social media skill levels across an organization to ensure the success for the social media efforts overall. SME² has identified more that 30 specific job skills and defined what would constitute base, intermediate or strategic levels – enabling leadership teams to determine what they need to deliver effective programs and where they currently stand in achieving that.
Several weeks ago I had the privilege and pleasure to attend the #3MThinkTank to open our minds and thoughts to the possibilities of the social media adventure and journey…to innovate along the way. You can learn more about some of the great commentary and talks over at Greg Gerrik’s blog. He was THE awesome host with a fierce program and resulting tweet stream that covered the gambit. However, throughout the day various presentations underscored the importance of people for delivering effective social strategies – whether we have the talent in our organizations (or not); how to identify, support and enable people within our businesses to actually make a difference; or how to find the talent that might be needed.
Susan Emerick underscored the importance of any businesses employees in social media efforts. In fact, she noted that the most influential influencers are a business’ own employees – the real subject matter experts inside your business. She also pointed out that enabling them in social is a new approach to marketing. And, she provided an answer to the ROI/business value question too: “conversion rate: Traditional marketing = 14% versus. Digitally Engaged Experts = 33%.”
Recently, there was this from Adobe:
“Crisis of Confidence in Marketing Proficiency and Effectiveness: Based on a broad survey of marketers, the findings by Adobe revealed a striking lack of confidence in digital ability. Less than half (48%) of professionals who consider themselves primarily digital marketers feel highly proficient in digital marketing. A majority of digital marketers haven’t received any formal training in digital marketing: 82% report learning on the job…they’re feeling underequipped to meet the challenges of digital, and they’re having a tough time keeping up with the pace of change in the industry.”
Nothing wrong with learning on the job. But, surely as we grow in the social media space we ought to understand where the people in our organization are at and offer coaching or training within the business to keep our people growing and ahead of the curve in an emerging field. Wouldn’t you want to help your teams grow their skills?
There was also this from McKinsey:
“McKinsey in its Bullish on Digital Study” states, in the “Looking Ahead” section: “Prioritize talent. Not surprisingly, survey respondents indicate concerns about finding the talent their companies need to realize their digital goals. Technical, functional, and business skills are all critical for digital programs. We have seen some companies begin emulating the high-tech practice of “acqui-hiring” (that is, acquiring small companies largely for their employees rather than their products). But finding and hiring talent is only part of the solution; no matter where the talent comes from, development and retention are equally important in a sellers’ market.”
You can find more data points right here too or download the background briefing paper here at SME². The conclusion is clear. Everywhere we look: achieving social media excellence comes with understanding the levels of social media expertise across a broad swath of functions, people and competencies – in both your agencies and your business. It is the building block that is critical to successfully scaling social initiatives for effective business.
An earlier version of this was originally published at RichardBinhammer.com