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Large companies aren’t just spending on social media in a way that touches customers directly. They’re also investing in developing social media capabilities within their own organizations. According to a study of worldwide companies with over 1,000 employees conducted by the Altimeter Group, companies dedicated between 20% and 37% of their total social media development spending to “internal social media” in 2012.
The Altimeter survey defined “internal social media” to include activities focused on building social media confidence and expertise inside the organization, including technology and and personnel devoted to social analytics, revising workflows and product roadmaps based on social insights, and connecting stakeholders and other employees in the organization to social tools. External social media spending was defined as money spent on activities such as fostering engagement with customers, using social content to market to customers, providing social media customer service, etc.
Larger companies were the biggest investors in internal social development, both in dollar terms and as a percentage of total social development spending. Companies with revenues between $1 billion and $10 billion spent an average $562,069 on internal social media, compared with $968,548 on external spending. Companies with revenues over $10 billion spent $1,308,750 on average on internal measures and $2,901,987 on outward-facing ones.
When asked about the core elements of their company’s social strategy in Q4 2012, social media professionals indicated that certain practices were well understood, while others might need more refinement. Nearly two-thirds agreed that appropriate social media risk management procedures were in place in their organization, and 61% felt that their social strategy was well aligned to business goals and outcomes.
On the other hand, fewer than half felt that a vision of the relationship between customer service and social media had been clearly articulated, and just 34% said that there were clear social media metrics that were understood and used organization-wide.
Perhaps that’s because few organizations really feel that all of their employees are fully up to speed with social media—just 27% responded that employees at all levels had received adequate training on how to use social media to benefit the organization.
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