For nearly two years, Altimeter Group principal Jeremiah Owyang has been researching and discussing a new technology category, dubbed Social Media Management Systems (or SMMS), which he defines as “a software tool that uses business rules and approved employees and partners to manage multiple social media accounts [and] contains features such as governance, workflow, intelligence, and integration capabilities across the enterprise.”
He just published his latest free report, A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation, which takes his previous analysis of the category to a new level entirely. The report is effectively two studies in one. The first half focuses on the state of the social strategist role; the second is a print-and-use resource – complete with vendor comparisons and project check-lists.
Though he would never admit it, Owyang is sort of the Patron Saint of Social Strategists. I can tell you from personal experience (Eloqua is an Altimeter client) that Owyang is singularly focused on helping all social strategists escape what he terms “the social media help desk” to add more value to their organizations while enriching their own careers. This report speaks to that charter.
I was able to finally sit down and read the study this morning (disclosure: I was interviewed for the report, so I was provided with a preview copy), and I found it equal parts heady and useful. I’ll let you view the report itself (see below) for the resources section, because it’s the thought provoking stats that I’d like to call out in this post. Following are the stats and observations that jumped out at me:
1.) The scale of the “proliferation problem” is swelling. Altimeter found that global corporations are struggling to manage an average of (a whopping) 178 business-related social media accounts. The firm expects that number to grow if unchecked. Throwing bodies at the problem isn’t likely to solve it (and even if it were to help, the model obviously doesn’t scale). Instead, the marriage of technology and process is the only option.
2.) Strategy trails adoption. Brands may be quick to create social profiles, but without a strategy in place, the likelihood of accomplishing business goals is diminished. More troubling still, the lack of a strategy exacerbates legal, compliance, and fragmented brand-perception risks.
3.) Brand marketers appear paralyzed by the volume of undifferentiated tools, the cost of integration, and the lack of cross-functional coordination. As a result, few accounts (25%) are defined by meaningful customer engagement and consistent content distribution.
4.) The boom in SMMS has been caused not only by a market need, but also by low barriers to entry and aggressive funding by investors. This trend is commoditizing technologies and confusing buyers.
5.) Streamlining is vital. Of the top three priorities for social marketers, two included the term “streamlininig” and the third – empowering the crowd – has the same effect.
Download the full report on Altimeter’s SlideShare channel, and for more on social media best practices, be sure to check out the Eloqua Social Media ProBook, which includes content contributed by Owyang.