A recent study by the Chartered institute of Management in the UK polled 1500 businesses worldwide about the use and attitude towards social media. They discovered that while businesses are investing in social media, managers’ lack of understanding means they are unsure of the returns. It’s a skills gap that is preventing businesses from getting value from social media.
1 in 5 marketers said their business was “fundamentally ill-equipped to take advantage of social media” and only a quarter of those questioned had established any solutions for this lack of competency.
“In the coming year, businesses will need to address the widespread skills gap that this survey has uncovered,” said Thomas Brown, head of insights at The Chartered Institute of Marketing. ” The gap between businesses that perform well on social media and those that don’t will widen dramatically in 2012 and if companies fail to invest in the skills, time and training necessary, they will find themselves left even further behind in a medium that they themselves admit is here to stay. The true sign of social media maturity in business will be when it is treated as just another channel, with its own characteristics and skills requirements.”
I honestly expected that we’d be much further along the road with social media and Digital PR skills than we are. The response from PR folk who attended The Taste of Tech, the Big 3, and the Social Media Intelligence conferences held over the past three months in New York City and San Francisco leads me to believe that it is much more than 1 in 5 who lack social media and Digital PR skills.
What should companies and agencies do to remedy this situation? Is attending conferences enough or should they be looking for an in-house social media training program with a social media coaching component to make sure that their people can actually learn, apply and implement the skills?