Thursday, February 10, 2011

There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (Perspectives on Altimeter's Social Budgets Report)

Yes, YOU may get your lunch for free but somewhere along the food chain somebody is paying for that lunch. And that’s true for social media too. You may not see it, but somebody is footing the bill either by paying cold hard cash or by investing time and resources. Earlier today, Altimeter released its latest report on “How Corporations Should Prioritize Social Business Budgets”. If you haven't read it yet, I’ve inserted the report below for your reading pleasure. If I were to sum up this report in one sentence, it would be “corporations must budget spending based on their maturity level”: novice, intermediate and advanced. 

Here are my (personal) perspectives on some of the key findings in this report.

“All corporations will gear up on Staff to Manage social business, yet investment in Training and Education will be low.” The double-edged sword. The difficult, yet necessary, trade-off decision practitioners need to make. If budgets (and resources might I add) were infinite (or much larger), training and education would be higher on the priority list to receive more funding. I think today many practicing companies (at least on the Intermediate and Advanced levels) already have some level of internal training in place. The question for them is really about providing the next level of training as their social practitioners have moved beyond “Training 101”. Their questions have become more elaborate and detailed. How can practitioners bridge this gap while waiting for the wallets to open up? On page 8, Altimeter mentions external resources to tap into so I’ll skip those. Complement those suggestions with internal informal learning programs such as 1) company-wide best practices sharing by advanced internal practitioners, 2) inter-company best practices sharing and collaboration, and 3) company-wide best practices sharing by your trusted vendors and agencies.

“Corporations will fail to leverage the social graph and continue to rely on traditional advertising and marketing tactics.” I just want to point you to some of my earlier posts on this topic, need I say more?

3 Social Media Practices That Make Me Itch
Quick Tips to Plan Your Social Media Engagement: 4P Framework
Social Media Engagement: Integrating It Into Your Business

What this means is social business is just business. Social media is not one person’s job and it’s not just another series of platforms to push your marketing messages to.

“Advanced buyers will seek specialized expertise from Boutique Agencies.” The only thing I would add here is “Boutique Agencies (or Social Vendors) that can scale. This is a big thing for large organizations. Why? Because it's just like dating: you like somebody, you will want to spend time with them. If we like you and have had a good experience with you, we will tell others within the company about you and at some point, chances are they will want to work with you too. So if you’re not ready to scale or if you have taken on too much, please be honest with us. Let us know. We’d rather work with you on a later project than have a (series of) bad experience(s) with you... We talk to each other. We ask each other for recommendations. We share the good stuff…and the bad stuff. That’s how WOM/social media works internally.

As promised, here is the report. Enjoy, it’s a good read.

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