It's pretty much a given that most businesses are well into the experimental stage of social media. It's difficult to find an organisation that hasn't explored social media in some way - whether through blogging, Facebook, Twitter, video etc.. But there's an important next stage to come in social media, and that's social business. At LeWeb, Jeremiah Owyang shared his most recent research into social business, and explored how social media is being used within companies at an organisational level ; that is, not just how social media tools can be used by the marketing department, but how it can be employed across different departments, particularly within service. And for many companies, it's clear that organisation of social media is needed, to bring it out of the experimental stage.
178 social media accounts
Perhaps most tellingly, an outcome from Owyang's research is that they found the average organisation has around 178 social media accounts, across a range of different services. In addition to this, there are around 1 in every 300 employees actively publishing social media updates for business. This inevitably leads to fragmentation and without enough consideration of the strategy, Owyang claims that you could actually be harming your business, by hopelessly yelling out into the crowd and not giving thought to the actual strategy. This can also be seen by the amount that companies try to 'throw' social media at their audience, shown in the example of the Washington Post, who have no less than 11 points on their homepage where they're trying to drive people away from the site and towards social media :
Organise from the inside out
Much of what Jeremiah is saying needs to be repeated again and again but what most companies don't realise is that this organisation of social media needs to come from within the inside. It is not going to be borne necessarily by one department leading the charge and claiming rights over social media use, but to employ a more holistic approach, as Jeremiah also explained. Companies need to first understand how social media is going to work for their business, rather than try to shoehorn into a particular marketing campaign.
This is by no means an easy feat. When companies are just getting used to the fact that social has changed/is changing the way they communicate with their customers, now they're being told they need to rethink the whole thing again and implement a more advanced strategy that sees social media changing their business.
You can see the highlights from the report by clicking on the image below :