Love it or hate it, social media looks like it’s here to stay for the long haul. Smart businesses utilize social media channels to advertise products and services, pivot themselves as industry leaders, and, most importantly, connect with their customers. No wonder many top companies are budgeting resources towards building better web presences. However, it’s rare to become an overnight sensation with all your efforts on point right away. It takes time to polish a social media strategy. Milestones along the way can help gauge your success. The trick is knowing where you are and what to do to get heading in the right direction.

It takes time to polish a social media strategy. Milestones along the way can help gauge your success.

We’ve identified 5 Stages of Social Media Maturity that will help you recognize where you are today, and where you should aim for success.

Stage 1. Risky:

The company has suffered a significant reputational crisis. A negative story has gone viral, is getting a lot of attention, and has been amplified on social media. Or the organization has accumulated numerous negative reviews and its reputation is suffering. The organization has been fined or sanctioned by a regulatory agency, or conducted an internal audit and found rogue employees or fake profiles. The organization has suffered a cybersecurity attack with social media as the originating source.

Stage 2. Minimal:

The organization is conducting business with zero to minimal social media activities, with few or no profiles, sporadic posts, and minimal metrics, technology and processes, either out of fear or the belief that social media has little or no relevance or impact on their business.  Employees are untrained and lack guidance on “rules of the road”; they may use social media for personal use or business use that unintentionally exposes the company to risk. If a social media crisis were to occur, there are no plans in place to manage a response or provide business continuity.

3. Experimental:

The organization is actively experimenting in social media, with occasional posts on multiple social media profiles, engaging with audiences, running contests and responding to comments. Employees have some basic guidelines on the “do’s and don’ts” in social media and the organization is doing some basic listening and tracking of customer conversations. Different departments each have their own approach to social media and there is minimal insight at the C-level into how social media is being managed or utilized to drive business. Technology, tools and processes are adhoc and vary by department, without any oversight or sharing of best practices, metrics and results.

Stage 4. Active

The organization has a formalized organizational structure in place to manage social media activities, with clear oversight, processes, analysis and metrics. Employees are periodically trained and policies and guidelines for employee use of social media are well established and communicated. There is a formalized budget and resource planning framework and social media goals and initiatives are in alignment with overall business goals and strategies.

Stage 5. Strategic:

The organization has a well-defined social media governance model. The organization has a clearly defined developed social business strategy and roadmap. The social media strategy aligns with business objectives and is customer-centric. Compliance and security are top priorities when considering social media initiatives. Social data is utilized to help grow the business and drive customer loyalty and engagement. Employees are regularly trained on how to use social media safely. Employee can safely advocate on behalf of the organization. Employees understand the distinction between personal vs professional use of social media. New platforms, programs and projects can be launched and implemented with ease and with clear business benefits. Best practices, regular reviews, analysis and insights are part of the social media governance model.

Want to keep track of your company’s social media maturity level? Download our free printable PDF and post it where your team can see it!

Free downloadable- 5 Levels of Social Media Maturity