"Social business" continues to grow as a topic. At the upcoming BlogWorld NYC, we will be participating in a whole track dedicated to the subject. Many businesses are discovering how social media can positively impact more parts of their business than simply the marketing discipline. While major marketers will pivot this year from experimentation to the actual implementation of training, guidelines and protocols that operationalize social media marketing, big enterprise will continue to expand using social media across more of the organization.
A recent study from Useful Social Media - State of Corporate Social Media 2011 - gives us two telling charts that corroborate this trend:
The C-Suite cares increasingly about social media - from the risks it poses when an employee casually tweets out a new R&D discovery to the benefits when employee collaboration can lead to significant dollars and time-saved in operating efficiencies. I resist most attempts to qualify the world's adoption of social media or digital marketing in relation to the North American marketplace (I often hear marketers in Asia or Latina say ' we're two years behind the US...'). Generally I see most markets following their own path and many are moving quite a bit faster than the US on some developments (like mobile). Still, in this case, seeing EU lagging in this chart suggests that it is only a matter of time before EU-based senior executives warm up to the operational advantages of social media.
This tells us that other departments beyond marketing are embracing the benefits and business value of social media. Since they all boil up the CEO, those companies who have C-suite support for social media will do better at adopting it. That's a bit of a "duh!" But unlike previous years where social media enthusiasts could pop up at many levels of a company and actually, eventually affect change, to truly get the benefits of social business across many departments it takes a leader to say it's important.
Here's how Useful Social Media sees the chart:
"The chart shows an interesting year is ahead for corporate social media. Whilst marketing and communications retain their dominance as the main reason ompanies use social, customer service, employee engagement and product development all see signiﬁcant growth on both sides of the Atlantic.
It seems most companies expect customer service to be the next big social media growth area. The US expects a 25% growth, ending with 75% of companies using social media for customer service by the end of the year. In Europe the increase is even more dramatic – from 34% using social for customer service now to 70% by year end.
Employee engagement is the next big growth area – 63% of US companies expecting to use social media for this by the end of 2011, and 55% of Europeans. Product Development will be just as popular in the US – 63%, whilst in Europe only 40% expect to be using social media to develop next products in 2011."