The folks over at Useful Social Media put together an interesting report on the state of corporate social media. As the report states, the purpose is “designed to help companies understand the emerging trends and successful methods for integrating social media into your corporate culture.” The report is based on responses from over 100 corporate social media practitioners globally.

Size of Social Media Teams

When the respondents were asked how big their social media team was, the responses came back surprisingly low. Based on this, over 75% of organizations have under three people exclusively working on their social media initiatives. While the report doesn’t cover how large the organizations are, it’s hard to imagine that an enterprise organization with several thousand employees would only have three people at most handling all of these initiatives, or perhaps I’m a bit naïve and too involved to see that in reality most enterprises are actually leaving this to just two to three people to handle.
 

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Where Social Media Practitioners Sit within the Organization

Not surprisingly, however, is that most of the time social media sits within the marketing or communications departments at organizations. We keep talking and hearing about Social CRM, which is based on the concept that “social” is not just owned by marketing, sales or PR. Clearly most organizations are nowhere near embracing this concept.

In fact, I would agree completely with the results here and say that most organizations at this point are mainly interested in using social media to just sell more stuff on more channels to more people. The idea of allowing customer feedback and relationships to be integrated into customer service, product development or other areas within the organization is still at the early stages.

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Social Media Budgets are on the Rise for 2011

On the brighter side though it appears as those budgets for social media initiatives are poised to increase throughout 2011. However, I can’t help but wonder WHY they are going to increase and HOW they are going to increase. If the previous responses are an indication of where social media is owned within an organization, then I interpret these budget increases to mean that organizations are gearing up to try to sell more things to us during 2011…yay!

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How Social Media is Being Used

Next, we can see what organizations are actually using social media for. I find this part of the survey a bit unsettling because it seems as though internal collaboration and customer engagement are grouped together, yet these initiatives are owned by very different parts of an organization.

Furthermore, the above question regarding social media ownership within an organization made no mention of a customer service department, any type of employee department (such as HR) or anything with the product development or any other department. So it’s a bit hard for me to connect the dots between where social media practitioners sit within the organization and what social media is actually used for.

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Before I get to the next section, I have to say that my biggest frustration point is the use of the word “campaigns” in the question. A campaign inherently implies a short-term tactical initiative, not a long-term strategy -- again, clearly showing that the concept of Social CRM or the idea of using social media as a long term strategy is still a bit of a novel concept. Using social media for employee engagement cannot and should not be classified as a “campaign.” Perhaps this is what happens when marketing owns social media?

Social Media Measurement Efforts

Here we see how organizations look at their measurement efforts around social media. Over half of the organizations are not measuring the ROI from their social media efforts, and out of those who responded “yes,” I still wonder how many of those actually refer to a financial metric showing either money earned or money saved (as opposed to engagement metrics such as fans, followers, website traffic, etc.).

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Conclusion

Overall I think the report is still worth a read, but again I’m a bit skeptical on some of the conclusions that can be drawn. I feel that customer-facing and employee-facing social initiatives should be separate in these types of reports or surveys because the term “social media” can mean different things to different people; so can “social business,” “enterprise 2.0,” and “Social CRM.” There needs to be a clarification and a differentiation between all of these things.

What do you think about the report? Surprised or interested in any of the findings or nothing unusual?