The 5 Levels of Social Media Maturity


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Every executive can make better decisions on their social media goals when they understand the 5 levels of social media maturity.

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  • If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. ZigZiglar, a great motivational and business speaker, said that… and how true his words. “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” How many of us are doing that every day with our social media? We have some sort of fuzzy idea about generating more likes on Facebook or more tweets on Twitter, but nothing tangible that ties back to the association’s strategic goals or bottom line.Fuzzy ideas can get you into trouble…
  • Maybe this story will tell you more than you need to know about me and my history with fuzzy goals…I was born in Joplin, Missouri, with the goal of being a mermaid and then a doctor…and my mother ended up with a moody teenager that wore mostly black and wrote poetry in her journals. Go figure. But that poetry actually ended up taking me places, like Chicago, where I competed nationally in a slam poetry competition. I was even featured on 60 Minutes for one of my performance poems called, Alpha Male. This is a troubling thing this poetry…you know how some people get louder when they start drinking? I tend to start reciting poetry…it’s embarrassing. Now usually, that’s about as much as I say about my experience with performance poetry, but there’s another story that I can tell that goes along with it and it’s not as fun. I was standing in front of hundreds of people in a night club and all eyes were on me and I began, “Writing poetry can only get you so far…” (pause) “Writing poetry can only get you so far,” and the next line wouldn’t come. I saw a blank in my mind where the words should be and I was beyond embarrassed. What I can tell you about that experience is that I hadn’t had a goal in mind. I hadn’t planned marketing around my own poetry like many other performers there…I hadn’t even visualized being in front of the crowd or how communicating with that room of people would impact anything. I had been simply letting life carry me weightlessly through its twists and turns and somehow it was only when I was smashed up against this situation of blanking out that I realized the foolishness I’d had all along in simply going along.
  • But you see that’s what many associations do with their social media. They don’t have clear goals in front of them because they don’t actually know where they stand in relation to the social media advances around them. ZigZiglar was right. “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every, single, time” but hopefully not in front of hundreds of people like I did.
  • I always tell people there are the big 3 in social media: you have to have a plan, you have to have a policy, and you have to monitor what’s online about you. Even if you are a mom and pop store in the boonies, these 3 things will help you online. Today we’re going to talk about the planning part of that trifecta.
  • And it starts here. Does anyone know what this is an image of? That’s right it’s a map – of a mall. Do you know the importance of a mall map? It helps you find where you are and where you are going. How else can you know that you are next to the Dunkin Donuts, but you want to be at Nordstrom which is on the opposite end of the mall and on a different level all together? And the most important visual element on the map is that little red dot or X or marker saying “YOU ARE HERE,” isn’t it? Now let’s get down to business.
  • Today we’re going to find your little red x, your “you are here,” so we can form better goals for your organizations because EVERY ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE CAN GET CLEAR ABOUT THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA GOALS BY LEARNING THE 5 LEVELS OF SOCIAL MEDIA MATURITY. [Handout – Test?]
  • I originally had a dinosaur as the graphic for this level, but then I thought better of it. The pre-social level may find associations that are not active on social media sites, but it’s not always because of a lack of desire. Many times it can be a matter of prioritizing this kind of communication or a matter of too many cooks in the kitchen. When I’ve worked with organizations like this, and some of them have been pretty large, the main reason they are not active on social media sites is because they don’t see an immediate need to be there. Now here I would usually insert that not being on social media today is like choosing not to answer your phone when it rings…because communication has changed that much! However, there is a positive to being pre-social…and it is that you have the world in front of you! From a pre-social level, an association can kickstart a new campaign starting on the social network of their choice and learn from the mistakes of others so that they can avoid some of the missteps of the early adopters. The danger of being at a pre-social level is that you aren’t benefitting from social media and you could be hurting because you aren’t online or aren’t aware of online conversations taking place about you or your industry. A lot of times what I see is missed opportunities more than anything else with pre-social level associations.
  • The observational level of social media maturity is one step beyond the pre-social organization. This type of association understands that it’s important to know what’s said about it in the public arena and so it monitors, baby. It watches what’s out there and although it’s not commenting, it is collecting information along the way. Some of these associations are more involved with the information they collect than others – some could tell you about the activity of the thought leaders in their space on social media and what types of posts they make and other associations merely track mentions of their name, but the observational association is at a level the pre-social association should aim to achieve.
  • OSA example….
  • WOM – Marketing Association Content Marketing Istitute
  • The 5 Levels of Social Media Maturity

    1. 1. LOST IN SOCIAL? NOT ANYMORE 5 LEVELS TO SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS Image: 'Steampunk Beholder Miniature robot sculpture -
    3. 3. LOST IN SOCIAL? NOT ANYMORE 3 KEYS TO SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS Image: 'Steampunk Beholder Miniature robot sculpture -
    4. 4. First comes thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination. Napoleon Hill
    5. 5. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. Steve Jobs
    6. 6. There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers
    7. 7. Business has only two functions - marketing and innovation. Milan Kundera