Most of us will have heard of digital transformation, but what about social transformation? Has your company succeeded in putting social media at the heart of its business?
In the run-up to publishing our guide on social transformation, The Social Element carried out a survey asking clients to assess how their business was handling their social transformations.
We found that while many of our respondents said that social influenced their business strategy, they struggled with the implementation of that strategy. They could see the potential of social, but the organisation lacked the resources to extract detailed insights and implement them.
What’s clear is that social media has significant potential for businesses, but the reluctance of some business leaders to invest in social is stunting the potential impact of social media.
The survey discovered three things:
A solid social media strategy helps businesses achieve their objectives
We asked respondents to rank out of 10 (with ten being ‘very well’) how well they thought their social media strategy helped the business achieve its goals. The average response was seven out of 10.
When social media is baked into business strategy, businesses find that social helps to support and develop their overall goals. Social media works best when it’s incorporated into business planning, rather than treated as an add-on.
Businesses make great use of the knowledge gained through social to make strategic decisions
We asked our clients ‘How well do you feel your business uses the knowledge you can gain through social media to influence strategic decisions?’ They felt that their business used the knowledge very well (with an average rank of 9.7 out of 10 given as an answer).
Brands gain a lot of valuable insights through social media engagement and social listening. What’s needed is an efficient and effective way to analyse these insights and come up with recommendations. It’s brilliant to see our brands using social media effectively.
However, turning these insights into tangible learnings can be challenging
When we asked decision-makers what the main challenges were when trying to get the entire business behind social media, we found that the main challenge lay in transforming insights into action. Almost 69% of respondents found this difficult.
It’s why businesses need to work with specialists who can interpret the data and apply it to things that the business can change and improve.
But it’s not the only challenge businesses face when implementing social media strategies. Just over 31% of respondents said that they didn’t have enough resources to manage social media well, while the same percentage said that they had a tough time making their leaders understand the potential impact that an effective social media strategy could have on the business.
It’s no coincidence that these two answers are tied for prominence. If business leaders don’t understand the power that social media can have over business strategy and success, they won’t prioritise providing a healthy budget for the endeavour. But this creates a vicious cycle, as a social team with a poor budget will have a hard time producing the results to convince their bosses of its potential. And the cycle continues.
At some point, what’s needed is a visionary leader who has the power and confidence in their teams to give them a healthy budget and let them show the business what they can do with social. But again, social can’t stand alone; it has to be tied in with the overall business strategy if it’s to fulfil its potential for the business.
Respondents reported issues with low engagement rates, which is often the result of poor investment, strategy or creative content. There’s so much content out there these days that brands need to be exceptional to stand out – even if they pay for their content to be promoted.
Finally, some respondents reported that although their business understood social media, they were stuck when it came to taking social to the next level. Once the company has incorporated social media into its business strategy, and leadership has provided a good budget for social media, the business can start to work with agencies that specialise in helping brands take their social media to “the next level”.
Getting leadership behind social, and getting the resources to power your social media plans, is the foundation of a businesses social transformation. You can’t take social media to the next level if it’s having trouble leaving the starting blocks.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing more information around social transformation – what it is, what it means for your business, and how The Social Element can help.
If you’d like to attend our breakfast seminar around The Social Transformation with an expert panel, register here