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A Social Media Integration Report Card

Is your company being strategic about social media?

The August 2011 CMO Survey reported that companies are increasing spend on social media (from current levels of 7.1 percent of marketing budget to 10.1 percent over the next year and to 17.5 percent in the next five years).

At the same time, marketers admitted they have a long way to go towards integrating social media with company strategy. On a scale of 1-7, with one being “not integrated at all” and seven being “very integrated,” almost a quarter of marketers (22.3 percent ) selected “one” to describe how well their company”s social media is integrated with the firm”s overall strategy (the average was 3.4). The number was only slightly better for social media integration within marketing strategy — 16.9 percent selected “one” for this question (the average was 4.0). These numbers are lowest among B2B product companies (2.8 for overall strategy and 3.6 for marketing strategy) and highest among B2C product companies (3.9 for overall strategy and 4.4 for marketing strategy).

Lack of integration is one reason companies are not fully leveraging social media investments. In this blog, I want to offer some thoughts about how we can diagnose a firm that has integrated social media into its firm’s strategy. The below questions highlight fourteen behaviors that I think a company engages in when its social media strategy is integrated to overall objectives. The underlying idea driving many of these ideas is whether social media is a part of key strategic activities in your company. Many of these are more marketing strategy-oriented but should apply to general strategy as well.

So before answering the question posed at the outset of the blog, see just how integrated your social media is by responding to the questions below.

Customer management strategy

  • Target customers: Is your social media focused on your company’s target customer?
  • Most valuable customers: Is social media designed to engage with your firm’s most valuable customers?
  • Customer acquisition: Does social media help your company acquire new customers?
  • Customer retention: Does social media help your company retain and grow existing customers?

Brand management strategy

  • Brand consistency across social media platforms: Does your company use a consistent image and benefits across social media platforms?
  • Brand consistency across social media and other marketing/sales activities: Does your company use a consistent image and benefits across social media and other marketing/sales activities?

Innovation management strategy

  • Drive innovation: Is social media a driving force for innovation and growth in your company
  • Leveraged innovation: Is information about customers’ social media activities important to your company’s innovation strategy?

Information management

  • Single view of customers: Does your company integrate information about a customer’s social media activities with other customer information (e.g., purchase behaviors, demographic, and/or geographic information)?
  • Insights out: Do insights travel from social media people to the rest of your company on a regular basis?
  • Insights in: Do insights travel from the rest of your company to social media people on a regular basis?

Organization management

  • Part of strategic planning: Are social media strategies discussed as a part of your firm’s strategic planning process?
  • Linked to valued company outcomes: Is social media evaluated on financial criteria of strategic importance to your firm?
  • Leadership: Does the social media group report to the same internal leader as marketing or to marketing itself?

Score your company on each of these indicators using the following scale: 0=not at all, 1=sometimes, 2=all the time.

How well did your company do? Share your total points.