Business Social Media Goes Multi-Platform

Chinese plate jugglersBusinesses are spreading their social media wings in a big way, creating lots of new opportunity but also questions about how to manage their suddenly overflowing baskets of online goodies.

Recent research I’ve been conducting into business adoption of multiple social media platforms is turning up some striking results.  The 53 respondents to a survey I posted in December report that their organizations are using an average of eight social media platforms today, compared to less than one in 2006. They also report nearly unanimous satisfaction with these platforms in the area of value for the dollar and performance against expectations.

These results are only preliminary and are based upon a small sample base. We’ll continue to seek responses to the survey and sponsors for the project as we move toward a goal of 150 total responses. People who take the survey get an early look at the numbers with a preliminary report to be released at South by Southwest in Austin next month.

While I can’t share any numbers at this point (you’ll have to take the survey to get those), here are some general observations.

  • Marketers are having really, really good experiences with social media so far;
  • The metrics they use are all over the map, though some consensus is beginning to emerge on what matters;
  • Few organizations are taking a disciplined approach to measuring ROI at this point. That may come later, but they’re busy with governance issues right now;
  • Marketers say Twitter is the killer app;
  • The next big challenge is to get procedures and organizations in place to integrate social media into other communication programs.

In-depth interviews with 10 organizations, including some very big brands like Coca-Cola and Ford, indicate that a federated approach to social media adoption is emerging. In other words, large businesses are developing centers of excellence at the corporate level to share tools and best practices but are leading implementation to individual business units. On Facebook, however, some companies are looking at the example set by Honda, which has taken a disciplined approach by building separate fan pages for each of its brands around a consistent set of guidelines and aggregating those communities on a corporate fan page.

The report on the first stage of the research will be available in about three weeks and I’ll let you know where to get it.

2 thoughts on “Business Social Media Goes Multi-Platform

  1. Good write up Paul, I agree with you 100%. I am currently using 15 Social Media Platforms to Brand and Market 9 county specific websites in California. The studies done on ROI can be extremely vague in this stage of the Integration of SMP’s. We recognize it’s a positive ROI but to what percentage is directly related to the SMP is still being researched.
    It’s great that you mention we are mainly concerned with the governance issue’s. Risk retention is directly related to the the person who is in the drivers seat. The only difference is this Ferrari is super charged! Information travels fast, and once it’s out there….kiss it goodbye!
    yoiu mention “The next big challenge is to get procedures and organizations in place to integrate social media into other communication programs.” Is what the next step is….the question is how many platforms will businesses be pushing information out through? When do you call it quits? Does the size of the company dictate the amount of SMP’s that are put in place? There are more than 250 social media platforms and the time & expense of managing ALL would be a waste.

    Tyler Spencer MS

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