Social Media Trends: How Advanced Organizations Achieve Success-David F. Giannetto
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Social Media Trends: How Advanced Organizations Achieve Success-David F. Giannetto

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The demand for tangible results and a strategic perspective increases while results become achievable with proper planning

The demand for tangible results and a strategic perspective increases while results become achievable with proper planning

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  • The strength of this paper is that it's a current snapshot of the 'State of the Industry' (i.e., what are most organizations experiencing as they attempt to achieve success with social media). And it compares and contrasts them with the more advanced social initiatives of other companies. However, the report doesn't actually deliver on the promise of the title; 'HOW' these advanced organizations achieve success. There is a difference between stating what organizations are doing and showing how what is being done is being translated into success.
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Social Media Trends: How Advanced Organizations Achieve Success-David F. Giannetto Social Media Trends: How Advanced Organizations Achieve Success-David F. Giannetto Document Transcript

  • Social Media Trends: HowAdvanced OrganizationsAchieve SuccessThe demand for tangible results and a strategicperspective increases while results becomeachievable with proper planningJanuary 2012 By David F. Giannetto Senior Fellow, GSMI CEO, The Telos Group Includes survey data, interviews and in-depth analysis from 163 social media managers and their organizations, and analysis of trends from 2011.Sponsored by© 2012 GSMI 1
  • Table of ContentsExecutive Summary....................................................................................................................................... 3Methodology................................................................................................................................................. 4Information Taxonomy ................................................................................................................................. 4Section 1: Majority of Brands Fully Prepared to Broadcast Marketing Messages via Social Media ............ 6 Finding 1: Social Media Established under Marketing as a New Means to Broadcast Traditional Marketing Messages ............................................................................................................................. 6 Finding 2: Adoption of Primary Social Media Technologies Not a Barrier to Progress ........................ 7 Finding 3: Social Media Managers Personalize Distributed Content with Little Oversight from Executive Management ...................................................................................................................... 10 Finding 4: Little to No Documented Planning in Place........................................................................ 10Section 2: Some Brands Employing Social Media within Discrete Business Functions .............................. 12 Finding 1: Social Media Established as a Free Standing Entity within the Organization .................... 12 Finding 2: Social Media Highly Integrate into Customer Interaction Oriented Business Functions ... 13 Finding 3: Little Formal, Documented Planning in Place .................................................................... 14 Finding 4: Legal and Human Resource Policy Designed to Allow Employee Participation Controlled by the Office of Social Media .............................................................................................................. 15Section 3: Select Brands Utilizing Social Media at the Enterprise-level as a Strategic Asset ..................... 17 Finding 1: Social Media Viewed as a Competitive Necessity by Senior Management ....................... 17 Finding 2: Social Media Policies, Procedures and Processes Designed to Encourage Employee Participation ........................................................................................................................................ 18 Finding 3: Integration of Social Media into All Core Business Processes Planned ............................. 19 Finding 4: Brands Utilize Social Media Strategic Planning as a Means to Achieve Lower Total Cost of Adoption ............................................................................................................................................. 20Recommendations ...................................................................................................................................... 22Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 23About the Global Strategic Management Institute .................................................................................... 24About the Author ........................................................................................................................................ 24Contact Information.................................................................................................................................... 25Permissions ................................................................................................................................................. 25© 2012 GSMI 2
  • Executive SummaryThere is a significant change occurring in the way organizations collectively view social media.Previously, most organizations spent the majority of their effort and resources building a basic presenceon social sites, collecting fans and followers, distributing marketing content and overseeing the resultingconversations. Within most organizations the efforts of employees responsible for social media focusedupon the tactical, day-to-day activities of these sites that are, to a large extent, the same as thoseperformed by individuals using social media for personal activities.The collective view of management, that social media is an extension of marketing, re-enforced thisbehavior. The often used label of “digital marketing” also infers that it is a subset of traditionalmarketing, and relegates it to a new, if revolutionary, way to interact with customers and potentialcustomers.Yet, social media increasingly forced management to realize that it is more than just a new way tomarket, to win customers and improve brand exposure. Customers, seizing the new public voice givento them by social media, began using these sites to demand better customer service when they weremistreated, voiced their displeasure with products or service, and even sometimes demandedorganizations to act in a more responsible manner.This forced a change in thinking.Where social media was previously considered optional, it is now viewed as mandatory for anyorganization seeking to compete at the top of its industry. It has gone from simply a cheaper and moreeffective way to market, to an integral part of how customers are influenced to purchase and remainloyal, influencing the design and improvement of products and even influencing executive decision-making. Social media has worked its way into organizations to become an enterprise-level issue thatnow often stands separate from marketing.While the implementation of social media at the enterprise level remains challenging for mostorganizations, there are a growing number that are figuring out how to do it, and how to use it to createsignificant competitive advantage, differentiation and return on investment. This report shares keycharacteristics of the most advanced organizations, comparing and contrasting them with what mostorganizations are experiencing as they attempt to achieve success with their own initiatives.© 2012 GSMI 3
  • MethodologyThis report was generated using both qualitative and quantitative information, gathered using onlinesurveys, interviews, detailed analysis of select organizational documentation, briefings and in-depthinterviews and analysis with client organizations. Specifically:  Online surveys of 163 social media or digital media managers responsible for the social media initiatives within their organization conducted during the fourth quarter of 2011 and first quarter of 2012. Respondents were solicited based upon their attendance at events in the areas of social media and mobile marketing, their job title/positions being made available through public information, or their relationship with GSMI or The Telos Group.  46 interviews with respondents that held overall responsibility for the social media initiatives within their organization conducted during the period of November 2011 and January 2012.  Information made available to GSMI as a result of speaker, practitioner or vendor participation in GSMI events during the second half of 2011. Information regarding these participants can be found on the GSMI website: http://events.gsmiweb.com/events.php.  Detailed analysis and in-depth discussions with clients of GSMI and/or The Telos Group.Information TaxonomyThe information collected for this white paper was organized into a logical flow to benefit the reader. Itis organized so that each major section and the underlying findings build upon the section(s) andfinding(s) previous to it. This is done for two reasons:  First, it aids the reader in understanding the characteristics of organizations that have achieved similar levels of maturity in the usage of social media.  Second, the information gathered for this report shows that as organizations mature in their usage of social media they tend to follow a set pattern, with their maturity building upon what they have previously accomplished. Therefore, a vast majority of organizations that have achieved the usage of social media at the enterprise-level (a characteristic of mature or advanced “social enterprises”) began their initiative as immature users of social media and did, at one time in the past, display the characteristics described in the previous sections of this report. In the achievement of this advance usage of social media they either continue to exhibit the characteristics shown in the previous section when the characteristic is beneficial or have evolved beyond these characteristics as they improved their program. Brands that did not follow this logical progression are highlighted in section 3: Select Brands Utilizing Social Media at the Enterprise-level as a Strategic Asset, Finding 4: Brands Utilize Social Media Strategic Planning as a Means to Achieve Lower Total Cost of Adoption.Based upon this approach, the information is organized to first reflect how the majority of brands areutilizing social media (section one), then how fewer brands are utilizing social media in a more advanced© 2012 GSMI 4
  • manner (section two), and finally how the most advanced users of social media are approaching itsusage (section three).It is worth noting that throughout this report organizations are referred to as having more, or less,mature social media initiatives. Most organizations begin a social media initiative with the intention ofhaving it mature and make greater contribution over time, yet some organizations reached a state ofmaturity where their initiative would not be considered mature, but they choose not to develop it anyfurther. Although this is a small segment of the population, a lack of maturity can be intentional. Thereasons and/or impact of this choice are not analyzed within this report.This survey only includes organizations that consider themselves as having established a formal socialmedia program, regardless of its maturity or effectiveness.© 2012 GSMI 5
  • Section 1: Majority of Brands Fully Prepared to Broadcast MarketingMessages via Social MediaA clear majority of those incorporated into this survey, 66% of the reportpopulation, show characteristics that can be considered average fororganizations utilizing social media to connect with customers, potentialcustomers and influencers. These organizations show a high degree ofadoption, interaction and satisfaction with their usage of social media sitessuch as Facebook, twitter and YouTube, with these sites primarily used bymarketing for outbound communications. The majority ofcommunications delivered via these sites supported what would beconsidered the traditional marketing messages of each organization,although the messages were typically parsed into smaller segments anddelivered with a more personal tone, as is typical of today’s social media communications.Those responsible for these communications are typically found reporting to the organization’smarketing department, with little formal interaction relative to social media occurring with otherdepartments throughout their organization. Social media continues to largely exist within a silo of thosepassionately believing in its potential, with tacit support from management, and little formal,documented policies, procedures and processes.The research leads to five primary findings that characterize the majority of organizations participatingin social media today:Finding 1: Social Media Established under Marketing as a New Means to BroadcastTraditional Marketing MessagesOrganizations in the early stages of adopting social media, or those that have not progressed to matureinitiatives, primarily utilize social media as a means to communicate their organization’s traditionalmarketing messages to this new, wider audience. Therefore, social media activities are typically viewedas a sub-set of the traditional marketing department (sometimes called digital marketing). The socialmedia efforts of practitioners within these organizations are often restricted by this narrow view ofsocial media. The integration of their initiatives into business functions outside of marketing is furthercomplicated by a general lack of understanding of, and often respect for, social media’s impact onbroader business functions, strategic objectives and the customer relationship, by those outside of themarketing department (and in some cases also within it).More specifically, senior management’s lack of support to promote social media at the enterprise-levellimits social media to this marketing role, with the tasks of social media restricted to those activitiesclosely related to the requirements of sites such as Facebook, twitter, and YouTube. One exception tothis trend is the interaction of social media with customer service. Consumers have becomeaccustomed to voicing unresolved complaints via social media since its public nature makes resolutionmore likely when they have exhausted traditional avenues.© 2012 GSMI 6
  • Finding 2: Adoption of Primary Social Media Technologies Not a Barrier to ProgressNearly all organizations in the survey began their social media initiative by first creating a presence uponleading social media websites (typically 2 to 3 sites at one time). This was primarily done for tworeasons. First, and most obviously, an organization cannot engage with customers, potential customersor influencers if the mechanics to engage are not first in place to do so. Second, there was no directionfrom management on actions that should occur prior to establishing a presence on these sites.© 2012 GSMI 7
  • This second reason is important because it shows that social media technology is not being applied inthe traditional manner. Traditionally, technology (especially technologies with a diverse ability tointeract with users via various connection points and styles as is the case with social media – Facebook,twitter, YouTube, blogs, etc.) is implemented by first creating a set of user or functional requirements.These requirements take into account the objectives of the organization and then look at the variouspossible applications or configurations of technologies before moving into implementation. This is notbeing done with social media. Little thought is given to which technology is most applicable to anorganization’s goals prior to creating a presence. In some part this can be attributed to the highpercentage of market share by leading applications along with the organization’s lack of ability tocustomize each application in use, however, when viewed as a suite of products, organizations do havethe ability to customize the type of interaction people have with their brand. To-date there has beenlittle impact because of this approach, although it is likely this will affect social media initiatives as theymature, especially unsuccessful initiatives (see recommendations). This approach will also have agreater impact on how successfully organizations will utilize technology that supports social media, suchas analytical tools, than it has on internet websites.It should be noted that there are cases where blogging or engagement on technically-oriented messageboards actually begins prior to the establishment of a social media effort within an organization, butthese efforts are largely independent and unconnected to any formal effort to utilize social media to theorganization’s overall benefit.© 2012 GSMI 8
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  • Finding 3: Social Media Managers Personalize Distributed Content with LittleOversight from Executive ManagementNearly all content distributed via social media is created outside the marketing/social media departmentand personalized for social media by an analyst or coordinator level employee. While over 50% of thesesocial media analysts report to a manager, within this group of companies that manager is typically notas familiar with social media as the analyst. This, combined with the high transactional rate of socialmedia, does not allow for direct supervision of each posting or the majority of work done on socialmedia sites by the analyst. During interviews, most employees responsible for social media updatesreported that their supervisor or manager did not review company social media sites even on aninfrequent, cursory basis, providing little to no guidance on what should be posted.This management approach allows the employee updating social media sites the freedom to personalizemessages and update sites, thereby creating the market message of the organization, with a freedomlargely unknown by this level of employee within traditional marketing departments, and, most likely,within nearly any functional area of the organization. As the organization’s social media initiative gainstraction within the market, especially for those who are most successful, this analyst potentially touchmore people relative to the brand than any other single employee or marketing effort within theorganization.It should also be noted that during interviews, social media coordinators/analysts with this level offreedom cited this freedom as the most rewarding aspect of their job and ‘freedom to connect withcustomers’ as the single biggest reason for not wanting to return to a traditional marketing department.Finding 4: Little to No Documented Planning in PlaceAs would be expected within this group of companies there is little to no documentation of policies,procedures or process relative to social media within the organization. Most documentation foundwithin these organizations is created by the legal, human resources or risk management departments.These organizations show a much greater ability to put policies in place when the documentationprocess is managed by these other departments. While there is no quantitative data that defines the“openness” of such policies, interviewees typically expressed that policies drafted by legal and human© 2012 GSMI 10
  • resources are not aligned with the long-term goals of their initiative, with the limiting of employeeinvolvement their primary concern.© 2012 GSMI 11
  • Section 2: Some Brands Employing Social Media within Discrete BusinessFunctions23% of organizations incorporated into this report display characteristicsthat move their initiative beyond the initial actions associated with theinitial stages of a social media initiative. These include the realization thatto be effective using social media to drive business performance requiresdedicated resources and a separate skill set than those found amongsttraditional marketers (although social media professionals often begin inmarketing). With this dedicated resource the organization begins toincorporate social media into its existing processes, policies andprocedures, although control of these activities remains within thetraditional business department they would typically be found within (i.e.legal creates social media policy with advice from the social media department, human resourcescreates procedures for education and training, etc.).Dedicated social media professionals begin integrating their initiative into the organization starting withthe most customer oriented processes first, with customer service being the most prominent startingplace. The majority of communication remains marketing-oriented, however the dedicated social mediaresources will respond proactively to customer complaints, and while not able to solve them directly,will attempt to resolve issues via information delivery or prompting customer service or salesdepartment activity. The majority of these efforts are manual and time consuming, with little formal,documented processes in place.At this stage of development, social media professionals are not modifying or improving core businessprocesses. They are interacting with other departments throughout the organization based upon theprocesses, policies and procedures of each department.The primary characteristics of organizations at this stage of development are as follows:Finding 1: Social Media Established as a Free Standing Entity within the OrganizationAmongst interviews conducted with respondents, many cited the creation of a formal social mediadepartment (often called digital marketing and typically reporting to the VP of Marketing) as the point atwhich their initiative began to be taken seriously within the organization, and the point at which theywould consider “real progress” was made.When organizations within this group are looked at specifically, the reporting structure of social mediareflects the greater importance placed upon social media. Analysts and coordinators responsible for theday-to-day activities of social media typically report to a mid-level manager. It is not unusual to find thatthese employees also have other job responsibilities outside of social media, but as the social initiativeof the organization grows full-time employees entirely dedicated to social media develop as would beexpected.© 2012 GSMI 12
  • Organizations with dedicated social media group typically still treat this group as a subset of themarketing department, but the formal role and position of the social media manager provides access toorganizational resources that they would not otherwise have access to.Finding 2: Social Media Highly Integrate into Customer Interaction OrientedBusiness FunctionsSocial media in its early stages of adoption focus almost exclusively upon pushing marketing messagesout to customers and potential customers (other sub-groups within the fan base will also receive thesemessages but they are not being directly targeted with non-marketing messages by the organization asthey are by more mature applications of social media). Once an organization has established a presenceon social media other conversations typically begin that separate into product/brand advocacy, socialresponsibility if applicable and organizational performance. The greater the organization’s social mediapresence, the greater the likelihood that these other areas of conversation will grow. As the socialmedia presence grows, conversations relative to organizational performance inevitably pull theorganization away from pure marketing, towards the traditional roles of customer service and sales orsales support (depending upon the business model/product mix). This result is a by-product of amaturing social media initiative.These trends highlight the larger influence social media is having upon the customer-corporaterelationship. Customers are aware that they have a louder voice on social media sites than they dothrough traditional customer service channels because there is a third party watching the transactionabout which the organization cares. This is forcing organizations to create and employ new customerservice processes highly integrated with the office of social media.In the worst cases, cases that often receive the highest publicity, NGOs are utilizing this public platformto target brands in an effort to change company policies, practices or objectives. The practice of simplydeleting negative comments often utilized by immature organizations is becoming increasingly lesstolerated.© 2012 GSMI 13
  • (Total report population)Finding 3: Little Formal, Documented Planning in PlaceAlthough few organizations at any level of maturity responded that they believe they had adequatedocumentation for any social media policy, process or procedure within their organization, includingboth crisis management and employee usage, more advanced organizations typically have policies inplace to control: employees acting as company representatives via social media, employee usageincluding mobile devices, crisis management, and training and certification.Follow-up was conducted with 61% of the respondents that stated they had an enterprise-level socialmedia strategy in place (54% of total respondents). Of this 61% less than 32% stated that the goals andapproach of their initiative were documented, with the remaining 68% stating that higher-leveldocumentation relative to their initiative was in draft form or incomplete. This further clarificationreinforces that organizations continue to have difficulty adequately documenting and communicatingthe goals and approach of their initiative to their larger organization. During follow-up discussions, aclear majority of interviewees stated that a goal for the upcoming year was to properly document thegoals, processes, policies and procedures of their initiative.Only amongst organizations categorized in section three, finding 4 did formal planning documentsrelative to a strategic application of social media exist in a state that would easily allow the goals andobjectives of the organization’s social media initiative to be easy communicated.© 2012 GSMI 14
  • Finding 4: Legal and Human Resource Policy Designed to Allow EmployeeParticipation Controlled by the Office of Social MediaPerhaps because of the formal role and responsibility created by more advanced organizations, theresponsibility to create policies and procedures shifts from the traditional departments to the office ofsocial media within this group of organizations. The process to create these policies and proceduresbecomes more interactive, holistic and inclusive. For all intensive purposes these documents are jointlycreated.Follow-up interviews conducted with these organizations revealed a higher degree of confidence by theresponsible manager that the policies jointly created more accurately reflected the level of opennessthat the organization is striving for. While the social media manager often expressed dissatisfactionwith the final degree of openness adopted by senior management, they also expressed that theorganization is probably not ready for a greater degree of openness. Social media managers alsoexpressed that these policies give them the freedom necessary to selectively include specific employeesfrom other departments in their social media activities as necessary.Along with the generally expressed opinion that social media is not adequately documented, socialmedia manager also expressed that previously created policies and procedures quickly becomeoutdated and need to be revised. This reflects the rapidly changing attitude of management towardsthe role social media has upon the success of their organization, along with the realization that socialmedia is a new, mandatory business function, and no longer optional.© 2012 GSMI 15
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  • Section 3: Select Brands Utilizing Social Media at the Enterprise-level asa Strategic AssetThe most advanced organizations currently utilizing social media, 11% ofthe report population, are characterized by a dedicated staff, recognitionof the need to develop their internal social media skill set, significantsupport from senior management and a focused effort to integrate socialmedia into as many business functions as possible while developing aformal, strategic approach for their initiative.These organizations have adopted the mindset that from a strategicperspective social media builds upon the current value proposition of theorganization, helping achieve objectives more effectively, while connectingwith customers in more creative ways. The process used by these organizations takes a more creativeapproach than traditional strategic planning and attempts to views the organization through a new“social lens,” attempting to change the organization itself, utilizing social media as a true competitivedifferentiator. These organizations also focus significant effort to determine how their social mediainitiative will create a return on investment (as they would with any other strategic initiative).Select organizations within this section focused efforts and resources to develop a social media strategicplan as early in their initiative as possible, thereby moving from the characteristics describe in section 1of this report to section 3 of this report with minimal time and cost (from initial stages to mature).Primary characteristics associated with advanced practitioners of social media lead to these finding:Finding 1: Social Media Viewed as a Competitive Necessity by Senior ManagementAll organizations within this category share significant support from senior management, with socialmedia reporting to either a senior manager or executive. In some cases the most senior person is stillthe VP of Marketing, but in others it is a separate VP-level position (varies by organization). Withinthese organizations the “mindset” of the management team towards social media is significantlydifferent than within organizations with less mature programs.During interviews, respondents within this category expressed senior management’s views on socialmedia’s role in the organization as complimentary to their traditional efforts or functional areas, asintegral to their future success as an organization and an important enabler of success in theachievement of most of the organization’s strategic objectives.While social media is still largely viewed as primarily a marketing function, the focus shifts away fromoutward broadcasting of marketing messages to interacting with customers, potential customers andpeople of influence. Social media is viewed as a better, more intimate means of communicating withthe customer, both to expose the audience to what is considered the organization’s value propositionand to solicit their feedback.© 2012 GSMI 17
  • This feedback, which could range from customer service issues to product improvements, is thenbrought back into the organization and used as a previously unavailable data point with which toimprove process, products and messaging. As a by-product of this interaction, the office of social mediatakes on an increased role of collecting and distributing information relative to customer feedback.Finding 2: Social Media Policies, Procedures and Processes Designed to EncourageEmployee ParticipationOrganizations within this section also moved from centralized interaction with their audience via socialmedia (as is typical in the previous two sections) to decentralized communication – what would often becalled a hub and spoke model. The office of social media still maintains control over policy, procedureand all marketing oriented content, but other areas of the organizations are free to interact throughsocial media with their own view and content without direct oversight or filtering of posts (althoughmonitoring is typically conducted by the office of social media).The activity of other employees interacting with audiences without direct supervision or filtering by theoffice of social media in and of itself does not place an organization in this section. Some organizationswith less mature programs do have individuals or departments throughout the organizationparticipating on social media websites. For example, it is common in many organizations to havetechnical employees (engineers, product developers or managers, etc.) participating on technicalmessage boards and blogs completely independent of other social media efforts and often withoutpolicies or procedures in place. However, organizations in this section consciously choose to giveemployees in various categories or departments the freedom to interact with customers via social mediain order to create and maintain the desired connection.This approach is supported by organizational policy jointly drafted by the office of social media anddepartments such as legal and human resources. This policy includes usage, representation and otherissues addressed by most organizations, but are also characterized by an initial certification program andon-going retraining of participants. Social media analysts within these organizations also expressed anincreasingly better relationship with employees from these other departments.© 2012 GSMI 18
  • Finding 3: Integration of Social Media into All Core Business Processes PlannedOrganizations within the population of this report consistently work to integrate social media with theprocesses that are most customer-oriented within their organization (typically customer service andsales but can vary into other, often unexpected areas, by business model). In some cases this is out ofnecessity, while for others it is a conscious choice. For organizations in section 1 or 2 of this report, theintegration of social media into the organization rarely moves beyond these areas and is often informal.Organizations within this section make a conscious choice to integrate social media into as manydifferent areas of their organization as possible. The progression or participation of departments insocial media typically follows the degree of interaction each department has with customers. However,within these organizations some areas, such as research and development, which traditionally have littleor no customer interaction, begin to interact with customers via social media.The primary purpose of this interaction moves beyond customer or potential customer attachment orengagement to impact process improvement or product development.© 2012 GSMI 19
  • Finding 4: Brands Utilize Social Media Strategic Planning as a Means to AchieveLower Total Cost of AdoptionA small percentage of brands (4.9% ofthe total population; 44% oforganizations in this section) adopteda formal, strategic approach todefining their social media initiative.These organizations typically beganusing this approach after establishinga presence on leading social websites(Facebook, twitter and YouTube;typically in that order). Their intent, at a high-level, was to move their organization from section 1 tosection 3 of this report with as little cost and effort as possible. This is generally considered a ‘strategic’approach to initiative planning and implementation.Those who utilized this approach attributed the organization’s commitment to social media and thisapproach as being influenced by: (1) a belief that while social media is still in the early stages ofadoption it is, over time, becoming mandatory for nearly all organizations (without regard to generalindustry standards of customer interactions); (2) an acceptance that social media requires a special skillset that was not initially available internally if it was to be employed at a mature level; (3) a© 2012 GSMI 20
  • management culture that embraces change and believes that their organization was or should be“progressive” (without regard to the industry stereotype of progressive/non-progressive and sometimeswithout regard to the organizations standard approach to business); and (4) previous success using astrategic approach, or failure created by not using this approach, on other initiatives. Approximatelytwo-thirds of those organizations utilizing this approach required outside assistance; approximately one-third employed a new senior level person to lead this initiative.© 2012 GSMI 21
  • RecommendationsWhile it is still too early to create what may be considered “best practices” for the implementation ofsocial media into the enterprise in any deep, meaningful way, there are clearly actions that can make anorganization more successful. The following recommendations are based upon the informationpresented within this report:  Accept that social media has the ability to impact the success of the entire organization. The most successful organizations are those that adopt a broad definition of social media and attempt to understand its ability to impact their strategic success. They follow a process to understand and develop the connection that social media can create between the customer and each functional area of their organization. They then use each of these connections in diverse ways to expose their customers, potential customers, and influencers within their industry, to the underlying, and long-established, value proposition of their brand, product and service.  Develop social media skills separate from traditional marketing. During the early phases of a social media initiative organizations often believe that marketing experience can directly translate to these new mediums. It often isn’t until they struggle to gain fans and followers that they accept that to run a successful initiative they must invest significant training in current employees, hire new staff, or seek outside assistance. Nearly every organization successfully using social media to drive its performance has established clear responsibility for it within their organization. Accepting, planning for and creating this separate internal resource as early as possible will reduce long-term costs.  Prepare for more consumers utilizing social sites to resolve complaints. Like it or not customers understand that via social media they can often get a significantly better resolution than through traditional customer service (especially after their initial issue was not properly handled). Organizations should focus on creating a formal connection between social media and their customer service and sales departments to deal with the greater number of customer inquiries and complaints that will be voiced via social media. This not only reduces negative conversations, but also when handled properly, provides significant positive conversations.  Develop personal connections for early success. For all but the most advanced organizations, social media practitioners must interact with managers throughout the organization from a position of little power. Therefore, success in these environments is often achieved based upon the ability of the social media analyst to create and build relationships with key influencers in each critical area. For example, social media analysts who expressed less frustration at their ability to solve problems typically worked outside of formal communication channels using a personal connection with someone in the necessary department. While this is far from optimal, social media analysts who focus on creating these personal connections are more likely to be successful.  Intentionally select the platforms you will most often use. Most organizations begin their initiative by creating a presence on every leading social media site and quickly find that they cannot consistently deliver content via all of these sites and adequately follow-up on brand mentions. To combat this, organizations should integrate content across sites where possible,© 2012 GSMI 22
  • and if necessary intentionally select which sites and platforms are most appropriate for their brand (i.e. twitter versus YouTube). While it is good planning to secure your name or page on all leading platforms, it is not necessary to maintain an active presence on all platforms. Direct visitors to the platforms you are most active on and focus available time and effort on creating one primary and highly active community.  Accept that despite the short duration of transactions, social media is not a short-term initiative. Social media is often deceptive to those who are not intimately involved with it. The lifespan of an average post is rapidly decreasing while at the same time the need for greater frequency of posts is increasing. This often leads to a tactical and short-term approach to asset allocation and investment, and a shorter planning horizon. However, organizations in the most mature section of this report all, either intentionally or by requirement, created a long-term vision of the role of social media within their organization before their initiative showed real success. Those organizations that showed the highest ROI for their initiative adopted a formal planning process for their social media initiative, as is typically done for all major initiatives the organization undertakes. When possible this approach should be taken by every organization.  Begin long-term planning for an ROI now. To date, senior executives have largely funded social media initiatives based upon the belief that at least a basic presence must be established to remain competitive. Initial staffing levels for these initiatives are low and early adoption technology is often free. However, once an organization finds success, their initiative quickly becomes uncontrollable with resources and larger expenditures are required. This, combined with the overall increasing maturity of social media, is causing senior management to ask with increasing frequency how these initiatives lead to a traditional return-on-investment. Social media leaders should begin planning now for these questions since an overarching theme is that these questions are inevitable.ConclusionThe shift of social media from primarily a marketing tool to an enterprise-level initiative impactingnearly every aspect of an organization was not unexpected; it follows a natural progression that hasbeen the case with every major change in business. Yet, for most organizations this change wasunanticipated, and the majority now find themselves seeking answers on how to catch up to those whoadopted a strategic perspective much earlier. What has been less expected and anticipated was thesignificance of the impact social media has had on the customer-corporate relationship, and the ever-expanding influence of non-customers upon this relationship.Undoubtedly more significant and potentially unexpected changes driven by social media are imminent.Those organizations which fall into the most advanced category of this report may be in no betterposition to anticipate what these changes will be, but they are most certainly in a better position to dealwith the impact and seize the opportunities these changes will create.© 2012 GSMI 23
  • About the Global Strategic Management InstituteGSMI is a leader in the industry of executive education,creating conferences, summits, workshops and trainingsessions that combine rich learning environments with theopportunity to network with today’s most relevant thought-leaders, speakers and practitioners. GSMI’s annual events have reached 70% of the Fortune 500, in over30 countries, and cover topics that today’s leaders find most challenging and inspiring.About the AuthorDavid F. Giannetto, CEO of the Telos Group and Senior Fellowwith GSMI, is co-Author and creator of The Performance PowerGrid, todays leading performance-oriented methodology and thenationally recognized book of the same name. He has been listedas a thought-leader by Business Finance Magazine and is widelyacknowledged as one of today’s most experienced practitionersworking to assist organizations in overcoming challengesaffecting performance at the enterprise-level – strategicexecution, social media, operational and financial performancemanagement, risk management and business intelligence. Heuses this experience to lead GSMI’s SocialAxcess25 ExecutiveWorking Group – a peer-to-peer environment for senior socialmedia professionals focused upon integrating social media intoeach organization to drive performance, achieve strategic objectives, create competitive advantage anddifferentiation, and improve the customer experience. This experience, his work with fortune 2000clients and his extensive experience as a writer and keynote speaker, has led to his recognition as one oftodays leading business theorists. His client list includes: award-winning initiative at FujiFilm USA andSeattle City Light, as well as the United Nations Secretariat, the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, FujiFilmUSA, JPMorgan, Black & Decker, Kelly Services, Mediacom Communications, WHX Handy & Harmon,Seattle City Light and Public Utilities, BlueCross BlueShield in 6 states, Roche, Schering-Plough,Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, American Express, Scholastic books, Engelhard Chemical, Men’sWarehouse, Huntington Learning Center and others. David is a Chairman of the Board for the SpinaBifida Resource Network, a former Rutgers University MBA Professor and a former US Army officer.© 2012 GSMI 24
  • Contact InformationGlobal Strategic Management Institute David F. GiannettoSan Diego, California The Telos Groupinfo@GSMIweb.com 20 Valley View Drive888.409.4418 Basking Ridge, New Jersey 07920www.GSMIweb.com DGiannetto@TelosConsulting.comTwitter: GSMIonline 908.797.9306 www.TelosConsulting.com Twitter: @dgiannetto LinkedIn: dgiannettoPermissions© Copyright 2012 by Global Strategic Management Institute (GSMI).Copying in excess of rights otherwise established under copyright law is permitted, without individualpermission or payment of a fee, provided that copies are made or distributed for non-profit purposesand credit is given for the source. All rights reserved. Abstracting with credit is permitted.This paper is intended for information and discussion only.Other than as necessary for the purpose of viewing and sharing the Report, it is strictly forbidden tocopy any Report material for commercial use in the course of a business.© 2012 GSMI 25