The Three Phases of Social Media Maturity for Businesses

4 Jul

All companies are different when it comes to where they stand with their social media marketing strategy. Some may have just started getting their feet wet with social networks, while others have perfected their campaigns. As a business professional or marketing executive, it is important to understand where your company stands. According to the CMO Perspectives on Social Marketing ROI Report, written by MarketingSherpa, there are three different phases of social media maturity: the trial phase, the transition phase, and the strategic phase. After reading the characteristics and statistics of each level, you will be able to tell which one your company fits in!

1.    The Trial Phase

As stated in the special report, 35% of CMOs claim that they are still in the trial phase of social maturity. In this phase, businesses do not really have any sort of guidelines or processes for their social media strategy. Usually, the social media platforms are all set up before any real goals or objectives have been planned for them. For example, a company creates a Facebook account because they know they need to be on it, but they do not know the kind of content that they should be posting.

2.    The Transition Phase

The transition phase is where the largest number of businesses fall, with 46% claiming this as their social maturity. As more social strategies are created over time, a company’s maturity grows. In this phase, a business now has some sort of process, although casual, and will randomly perform social functions with little guidelines. This phase is the stepping-stone to becoming part of the strategic social marketers, as now there is some idea of what needs to be done and how to go about completing the tasks. For example, a company who has a blog set up decides to start writing posts relative to their industry, but the articles are published on an abnormal schedule. In order for companies who function like this to move on to the next phase, they would need to implement some sort of editorial calendar to keep blog posts regulated.

3.    The Strategic Phase

The strategic phase is the highest level of social maturity, and is what every business should strive for. In this phase, a business has an organized process with thorough guidelines. Additionally, all tasks are performed routinely. Every single social media platform used in this phase has a specific plan and functionality. For example, a company has a Twitter account, a Facebook fanpage, and a blog. Their tweets are scheduled three times a day, and consist of articles, information for their followers, and promotions for their company. Their Facebook fan page is updated 2 times a day and is dedicated to contests, industry-related information, customer service and blog posts that they create. They post on their blog site 3 times a week, and always keep the content relevant and interesting for their readers. All social networks are tied into one another, and there is a lot of room for promoting their business within the consumer-oriented content. This is the strategic phase of social maturity. Interestingly enough, only 19% of CMOs claimed to be a part of this category, which means there’s plenty of room for other companies to join them!

The more organized and the more strategic a company’s social media plan becomes over time, the more likely that company will advance to the strategic maturity level. It is also important to recognize that the company size relates to its maturity phase. For example, a company with 1500 employees is almost twice as likely to be in the strategic phase than a small business with less than 50 employees. This happens because larger companies have more resources to allocate to their social media strategies, and is able to carry out all of the necessary functions. In order for smaller companies to reach the strategic phase, they might have to hire a social media marketer or outsource their social media management.

Now that you know the characteristics of each social maturity level, which one do you think your company falls into? Please leave a comment below and let us know!

If you are interested in taking your social media maturity to the strategic phase, contact PMC today! 

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