Altimeter’s report “A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation” is an enlightening read, highlighting an important problem of our time: social media proliferation. Many companies have too many social media accounts that lack a strategy, compliance with the brand, and/or accountability.

Here 7 key facts and highlights from the report. Thanks to Jeremiah Owyang for allowing the re-posting of the report:

  1. Global corporations own an average of 178 social media accounts. (From my experience, there are likely many more unaccounted for as social media governance is hard).
  2. While 70% of companies said that their social media efforts met their business goals, only a sub-set actually had a strategy that defined these goals and how to reach them.
  3. Only 26% of enterprise companies offered social media education to their workers.
  4. Main tools challenges included: integrating social media tools with existing systems, finding tools that cover all needs from publishing content, and providing good analytics.
  5. The reports states that none of the Social Media Management System (SMMS) vendors has a complete offering that provides all that is needed for effective management.
  6. To avoid proliferation: a) conduct an audit and get ready (e.g. through governance get rid of accounts), b) understand your business needs (Altimeter let’s you pick from 5 use cases), c) choose a suitable SMMS (the report reviews key SMMS vendors), d) add services, e) start roll out with education and testing.
  7. On page 23, the report provides a checklist that can be useful before starting any social media channel.

Obviously, the Altimeter report is a model that describes an ideal scenario. Not all companies will be able to implement this in the ideal form. The reality is that social media work is often under-resourced. Even with the best intentions at the start, priorities shift, politics get into the way, and things take more time than expected.

Further more, even if there is training, people often ignore it or don’t have time to take it. But, the Altimeter report provides a wonderful framework to start you onto the path of becoming a social business. As long as you are realistic and honest about your organizational abilities and constraints, the report is a great tool.

In regards to an SMMS solution, from my own experience, it can be a tough call whether to purchase an in-house SMMS, hire resources and build expertise, or outsource the process to an external vendor. With the market consolidation in the SMMS space (example: Wildfire being acquired by Google) there is the risk that the SMMS tool you are using could be acquired by a competitor, or vendor you don’t want to do business with, and you’d have to start from scratch.

On the other hand, there seems to be high turn over at the external agencies that offer these type of services. I’ve seen it where the dedicated agency resource left and the enterprise had to start from zero, training a new person to get up-to-speed on their situation, sometimes even the SMMS tool. A solution can be a dual strategy of keeping it partially in-house and partially outsourced. In that case, outsourcing monthly reporting often makes sense (but make sure to at least spot check the reports).

Here the original Altimeter report:

A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation from Jeremiah Owyang

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