Social Media Maturity Model – Where is your company?

4 Stages of Social Media Maturity
Many companies are still in Stage 1 or 2 today.

After talking to many companies over the last few years about Social Media, I put together a model for the different stages that companies go through with social media. There seems to be 4 stages: Pre-Social, Connection, Engagement, Social Advantage.

Stage 1: Pre-Social

Companies in this stage have not yet tried to do anything in the Social Web.  They don’t have a page on Facebook or any other Social network.  They don’t have a Twitter account.  Their websites tend to be traditional, 1-way push brochures without a way for their customers to interact with them or each other.

Stage 2: Connection

Companies in this stage might have started to experiment with Social Media.  Many have a Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter account/page.  But, sadly, they have not put in the investment to really start meaningful conversions with their customers.  I find these companies might slap a Facebook icon on their website and are passively collecting fans, but don’t know what to do with this asset.  They are also sending out the same marketing messages that they might send out in an email here.  They see Social Media as just another communication channel.

Stage 3: Engagement

Companies at this stage are beyond connection and are starting to truly engage with their customers.  They might have a blog, forum, or a community.  Some are extracting value by using SM for customer service, light customer research, or public relations.  There are real conversations happening here with customers, vendors, partners, and employees.  But, they have not taken the final step to utilize Social Media to improve their product/services and innovate together.

Stage 4: Social Advantage

These companies are social, have living/breathing 2-way websites and applications.  They are reaping the rewards of being truly in lockstep with their customers.  From marketing/sales to product development to customer service, every department in the company is integrated with the customer, so they can deliver value in the fastest, most efficient, most innovative, and most profitable manner. The following companies are good examples of companies that I believe are in the final Social Media stage.  Where is your company?

For Project Managers who are tasked with starting or building their Social Media efforts for their company, keep the long-term goal in mind.  Social Media done correctly can lead to breakthrough business results if you get to Stage 3 or 4.  It just takes some resources, commitment, a customer-orientation, and some creativity.

These companies are reaping big benefits from Social Media
These companies are profiting from strong Social Media efforts.
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2 thoughts on “Social Media Maturity Model – Where is your company?”

  1. As a consultant, I work with people from dozens of companies each year, mostly employees of global Japanese companies, but also in the US. I can tell you that most of the companies I encounter are only at stage 1, and fear of the risk is the #1 reason holding them back, second only perhaps to their misconception that social media is something teenagers play with. Duh! With Amazon MP3 having well over 1,000,000 followers, I think global businesses everywhere need to wake up to the fact that social media is a business tool.

    One B2B senior manager resisted saying “But that’s a consumer business.” I immediately pulled up his company’s biggest competitor, who had over 1000 followers, about the same number of potential business clients that exist in their market. His “zero” followers compared with their 1005 seemed to shock him into a realization that his understanding of the role of social media in connecting with clients, even in the B2B world, had a very big missing piece.

    And fear of the risk involved in having unfavorable conversations is no reason to stay away from social media. There’s no way for a business to prevent customers from engaging in conversations about them on social media. As I’ve learned from your valuable guidance in this area, at the very least every business needs to be monitoring what is being said about them, if not engaging.

    – Kimberly Wiefling, Creator of http://www.scrappywomen.biz and the associated book Scrappy Women in Business, available on Amazon

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