Social media strategic, but no social media strategy – report

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A recent HBR / SAS survey of how organisations are using social media is worth reading. Its analysis is biased towards SAS’s interests in analytics and monitoring, but the data is interesting in itself.

For example:

  • 75% of companies said that they don’t know where their customers are talking about them – they’re missing both the advocates and the detractors;
  • 79% said they are using (58%) or planning to use (21%) social media, yet only 1/3 of those had a social media strategy in place;
  • 42% said social media is integral to their overall goals and strategies; and,
  • 32% said social media has been designated as a high priority by their organisation’s executives.

There’s a lack of alignment in those statistics between the perceived strategic value of social media and the lack of a strategy. Perhaps this is an opportunity?

Where do they see this “strategic value”?

This is the $64 question, because the respondents to this survey indicated that:

  1. their social media efforts were directed by marketing (69%) followed by communications, PR and the web team; and,
  2. the highest ranking challenge for organisations was understanding the potential of social media to make a difference to their business.

To me, this explains why these such factors as “fully utilising social media across the organisation” and “leveraging social media insights across the organisation” were ranked quite low as the “most pressing challenges”, that is not too pressing at all.

If you don’t fully understand the potential impact on the organisation, and the thought leadership is limited to marketing, then those other issues would not yet have been fully considered or appreciated.

Fully utilising social media and leveraging its insights across an organisation is a very challenging aspect of developing a social business.

Perhaps that will come to the fore in future surveys, as the experience with current activities grows.

What are your key take-aways from the survey?

How would social media efforts best expand from marketing to the broader organisation?

What is your interpretation of the mis-alignment of the strategic intent and the practice?

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