Thanks to Forrester Research, we now have a succinct model that enables companies to identify where they stand in terms of social media maturity and adoption.
With this knowledge, companies can develop the appropriate plans to mature, increase their adoption, measure and test their efforts, and work to take full advantage of the benefits of social media companywide.
The model also provides a guide for inbound marketing agencies to identify where their clients and prospects are in terms of social media maturity.
Source: Forrester Research
The size of a company should determine the speed at which it can or should mature.
Trying to jump from the dormant phase to the empowering phase too fast might have horrifying effects on a brand. Not only will the left hand not know what the right hand is doing, but the fingers and toes will be blissfully ignorant of one another, too. This can lead to mixed messaging, social media faux pas, duplication of efforts, and incorrect budgeting.
Inbound marketing planning should take the maturity model into account and establish goals for reaching each stage. For smaller companies, moving through the maturity model can be relatively quick. Large companies, however, may take years (or more) to move from one stage to another.
of Forrester Research takes the social media maturity model
a step further by defining personae for companies moving through the model. He identifies them as:
• Laggards. He estimates 20 percent of companies are not using any social media and that companies represented by this persona tend to be highly conservative, heavily regulated, or just not interested.
Reads from right to left
• Late majority. Labeled as starting in “organic pockets,” Corcoran describes this persona as “distributed chaos” and recommends that a senior digital marketing manager step in to be the “shepherd” that coordinates efforts.
• Early majority. This persona consists of management that recognizes the risks and rewards of social media use, as well as the allocation of resources and the development of governance.
• Early adopters. Corcoran defines this persona as having already coordinated social organization and is now focused on optimizing social media activities. He cites Starbucks, Best Buy, and Coca Cola as examples.
• Innovators. Companies representing this persona have all relevant employees trained and empowered to use social media. Many inbound marketing agencies fall in this category.
Source: Forrester Research
See this inbound marketing calculator for help with social media marketing budgets
Chad H. Pollitt is a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, an Army National Guard commander, and the director of social media and search marketing at Kuno Creative. A version of this story first appeared on the company’s blog, Brand & Capture.