First in a series of three posts
It was exactly one year ago today that I wrote a post entitled “Social Media 2010: it’s time to get boring.”
I’d suggested that marketers and business leaders see past the social media hype and begin integrating it into business functions and processes, to go beyond the viral video.
A year later, companies seem to be on a journey in integrating social media into their business operations. By observing some top Fortune 1000 companies and how they transformed into more customer-centric organizations by integrating and operationalizing social media, we and our team at Ant’s Eye View have mapped out a 5-stage transformation. We call it the “Social Engagement Journey.“
Stage 1 of the journey is traditional command and control. One-way communication with customers is the norm, and the various functional units in a company operate relatively independently.
Stage 2 usually involves 1-2 individuals or teams who begin experimenting with social engagement. These mavericks can appear in any part of the organization but are often in marketing or support groups. There may be multiple mavericks in a company, but they are not yet connected to each other. Teams in this stage emphasize direct customer engagement, likely breaking or bending internal rules to make it happen.
Stage 3 is when companies begin getting serious about social. A formal team may be empowered to help operationalize social engagement, or there are informal internal communities that drive progress. At this stage, companies emphasize training, policies, measurement frameworks and common engagement platforms.
Stage 4 usually means social engagement is delivering real business results. Executive support is broad, and engagement efforts are built into forecasts and annual plans. Customer listening is the norm, and multiple individuals within business units and functional groups are empowered to engage directly with customers and prospects.
Most companies would feel very satisfied reaching Stage 4, but we believe there is a higher stage of engagement.
Stage 5 is probably nirvana given that many of the tools to achieve this stage don’t exist yet for enterprise-level companies, but we call it the Fully Engaged Enterprise. In it, companies experience breakthrough business results based on deep customer engagement. Customers say things like “You know what I need before I do” and “my life is better because of you,” or “I trust you.” That said, there’s a lot of foundation work to do in Stages 1-4, regardless of technology.
What do you think about the Journey? What stage would you say your company is in?