Study Reveals Top 6 Social Media Goals for 2011 : Social Media Examiner

social media researchIn 2010, many businesses laid their social media foundations. In 2011, many wonder what social media marketers will tackle as their top priorities.

Altimeter Group‘s recent research reveals that integration, staffing, advertising and measurement are all key areas of focus for social media strategists in 2011.

Jeremiah Owyang, industry analyst and Altimeter Group partner who focuses on customer strategy, recently delivered the keynote Social Business Forecast: 2011 The Year of Integration. He offered some extremely valuable survey results, insights and advice for businesses looking to expand their social media plans in 2011.

In the survey, Altimeter Group asked 140 corporate social strategists about their 2011 planning. Below are the specific questions asked and the graphs Altimeter created to reveal and compare the findings.

Question: What internal social strategy objectives will you focus most on in 2011?

As you can see from the graph above, "Creating ROI Measurements" was top of mind for almost half (48.3%) of those surveyed. Not so closely behind was "Internal Education and Training" (37.3%).

Question: What external social strategy objectives will you focus most on in 2011?

The graph above shows "Website Integration" as the #1 priority for 46.7% of respondents. This is an important objective because social integration with your website allows readers to stay on your site longer. This also encourages social sharing and community in a location (your website) that you have more control over (versus external social channels like Facebook and Twitter).

Question: What measurements are most important to evaluating the success of your program?

From the above graph, it's obvious that social strategists have their eye on engagement for 2011, with over 65.5% stating that retweets, comments and likes are top of mind when it comes to measuring social success. Interestingly, product revenue was much lower on the list, coming in at only 21.8%.

For years we’ve been hearing social media experts warn that profits and revenue should not be the ultimate goal for using social media tools and based on the findings above, businesses just might be starting to agree.

So how do you get ahead in social media in 2011?

Owyang’s advice is to invest in scalable social media programs in 2011.

How do you do that? Here are his six tips to help you move in that direction:

#1: Hire Correctly and Properly Train to Scale

Altimeter Tip: No gurus, ninjas or hotshots need apply. Look for solid experience and seek out the early technology adopters, as they tend to have a finger on the pulse of industry trends and behaviors.

#2: Integrate Social Media on Your Corporate Website and Then Aggregate and Curate

Altimeter Tip: Do this in stages, starting from ground zero with no integration and moving toward seamless integration by using a step-by-step progression. Start off with sharing, move toward integrating the brand with the social channels and eventually integrate social logins to keep people on your site longer and encourage even greater social sharing.

#3: Invest in Advertising That Leverages the Social Graph

Altimeter Tip: Advertising is the second highest social business program spend for 2010-2011, but it must be done strategically to see real results. Focus on clear metrics and make sure to tie the ads back to the social graph, instead of the old way of using banners.

#4: Build an Unpaid Army of Advocates to Get Your Customers to Do the Work for You

Altimeter Tip: Invest in advocacy programs because you can scale them more easily than most other social programs. Here are the 5 phases of scalability for an advocacy program:

  • Internal readiness
  • Identify advocates
  • Build relationships
  • Put advocates first
  • Foster growth

#5: Invest in Scalable Systems

Altimeter Tip: 1:1 dialogue does not scale. The two systems to help you scale are social customer relationship management (SCRM), which connects the social web to your customer database, and social media management systems (SMMS) such as Co-Tweet.

#6: Learn to Measure Using the ROI Pyramid

Altimeter Tip: To avoid information overload of executives and management, Owyang provides a valuable solution: Provide the right metrics to the right audience. Know who your internal audience is and give them the appropriate info.

He makes a great point by saying, “A novice mistake is to provide engagement metrics to executives.” He suggests instead that you focus on business metrics when it comes to executives.

Check out the “Social Media ROI Pyramid” in his keynote presentation (slides 37-40) to better understand which role should get what specific data. I’ve never seen it laid out this way and it’s incredibly valuable information you don’t want to miss.

Now it’s your turn! What are your thoughts on the six tips for scalable social media programs? Do you think it’s valuable advice or will you do things differently in your business? Leave your comments in the box below.

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