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We recently came across this nifty “social maturity scale” created by Forrester, a super cool technology and marketing research company. The scale is based on a ton of research and a survey of 95 different companies to answer the question “What’s the roadmap that organizations follow in adopting social media?”

Oh, stop yawning. You know we’re going to make this fun for you!

Now, if you remember back in the springtime we did a whole series on how to get your social media machine all fired up. And you jumped right in with both feet and created a totally kick-butt social media campaign, right?

Of course you did.

So this is a nice little follow up to all of that so you can gauge your “social maturity” and get an idea of where you are compared to other companies. Also, we can help you see what the next level looks like and what you need to do to get there.

Forrester refers to the first level of social maturity as the “Dormant Stage” and the folks who are in that stage are called “laggards.” That’s right. They went there. They’re calling people with no social applications whatsoever “laggards.” Nobody wants to be a laggard because that’s terrible! So if you’re one of them, (we’re looking at YOU people in conservative culture or regulated industries) you need to get on the bus already and become the first Laggy McLaggardton to become a social media animal! It’s not going to go away, you know.

The Forrester people recommend that laggards go check out Radian6. Radian6 is a kind of social media monitoring software that helps businesses listen, discover, measure and engage in conversations across the social web. It can be very useful in helping you determine where to start and what people are already saying about your business. There’s a lot of different tools like that that can help, so Google it and find one you like. See that?  We even put a link for you so you don’t have to go clicking around. We are here to help the laggards of the world get into the next category at least. 

People in the “Testing” category have some social applications going, but there’s no coordination. They’ve started a Facebook page, for example, but it’s not really doing anything awesome. What needs to happen is they need to shift from measuring how many friends/followers/likes they have and focus on the actual impact their efforts are having on their business. Are those friends/followers buying stuff? If so, build on that success! Expand into new communities so you can get to the next level. If things aren’t happening, re-evaluate what you’ve been doing and try some new stuff.

In Forrester’s “Coordinating” phase, management recognizes the value of social media (because you’ve been doing a great job tracking you ROI) and makes it a priority. People are tweeting and Facebooking and going all kids of Cra-zay! These “Coordinating” people even have committees set up to strategize and build a long-term plan. That’s pretty awesome stuff right there, but they’re still not as cool as the “Scaling and Optimizing” folks.

“Scaling and Optimizing” means that a business has really pulled things together nicely. There’s a strategy in place, and there are multiple social applications being used effectively and efficiently. Businesses in this phase have a presence on all the major social media sites and maybe even have their own “channel” on YouTube. Their employees know how to use social media effectively and they actually do it. If you were to see a company like this, you’d be all “whoa. These guys rock, dude!” only you’d say it in a more Socially Mature way. You probably wouldn’t say “dude” for example.

And finally Forrester’s upper echelon on the Social Maturity Scale is “Empowered.”  Clearly, this is a looonng way from laggard. These people are innovators, y’all! In this stage, social media is a well-oiled machine and it pervades the entire company and informs all that they do. This is where you wanna be, but it’s rare and it certainly doesn’t happen over night, but don’t be discouraged! It’s totally possible.

It’s important to understand where you fall on this scale and to keep striving to climb higher and move forward. Companies that use social media to its fullest can create brand evangelists, improve the quality of their products and services, and continually improve their business practices. Not only that, but people listen to them because they’re all “Empowered” and stuff.

PS: Come back next week so we can talk about pretty, pretty pictures and why you need them! It's going to be an epic post...

Thanks for stopping by, Trish!

That certainly was a fun post. Love the photo, too! What a great read and a creative take on Forrester's “social maturity scale.” Thanks so much for including us.

All the best,
Trish @Dayngr
Community Manager | Radian6

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