Are you taking full advantage of social media?

With more and more brands realising the critical importance of social media, the last two years have seen many changes, with what can only be referred to as “the rise of social media leaders”. We’d consider a ‘social media leader’ to be a company that has a comprehensive social media strategy across all departments, that maximises the management of their online community across all online channels, and one that really takes full advantage of social media through active and proactive outbound reach strategies.

A recent announcement by Brand Republic listed the top 100 social companies for 2012. This is the second year the Top 100 has been published, and one can certainly draw vital conclusions by comparing the two lists. What we found particularly interesting were some of the ranking position changes, and the entries of new brands into the top 100. This can only mean organizations are moving fast to establish themselves as social media leaders by taking full advantage of this fundamental area affecting their business.

The CCA DGC regularly conducts social media footprint analysis across the social web and in particular we look at areas where brands fall short in their social media effort. It is our finding that many organizations believe they are indeed ‘active’ enough in the area of social media, and perhaps deem themselves to be social media leaders, but the perception often proves to be far from reality. Very few organizations really take full advantage of social media and the support that is available to monitor and track what is being said on the social web. Nor do they have a solid engagement strategy to take advantage of such conversations. Interactions or content directed at your community Twitter, Facebook fan page or corporate blog, for example, can not be leveraged without a robust engagement strategy.

Social media spans across all departments of an organization. Using social media only for PR and marketing activities is, in effect, ignoring the vast potential presented by technology and experts that allow an organization to take advantage of a much larger chunk of the opportunities presented by social media.

Companies can often only engage with customers actually engaging with the brand directly on Twitter or Facebook; thereby losing out on the ability to pick up mentions relating to the brand or its product across the whole social media spectrum. This results in missed opportunities to engage with customers and the public. This may be related to customer loyalty (where you could encourage a brand champion further), customer complaints not picked up on Twitter or Facebook, potential crises developing, knowing what customers say about the brand and products of your direct competitors, and potential lead generation opportunities to support your sales process. The list goes on.

We would be interested in hearing your views on the above and what your challenges are in regard to your social media strategy. Is your organization taking full advantage of social media, or does your social media strategy only include online community management through Twitter or Facebook? Do you only use social media for marketing and PR?

How do you anticipate becoming a social media leader?

What are your thoughts?

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