A new report by Jeremiah Owyang out last week describes the growing proliferation of social media across corporations and shows exactly how out of control things have gotten. Owyang, an expert on the topic who is part of the Altimeter Group, has a lot to absorb here. He surveyed 144 corporations using social media along with 27 software vendors who have various management tools to help. One of the nice things about this report is he lists his sources explicitly, so you know the quality of the information. On average, a company has 178 different corporate accounts on various social networks. And that isn't counting the personal accounts. That is a lot of stuff to manage.
"This lack of coordination is a recipe for disaster," posts Shel Holtz on his blog last week. "The inability to coordinate effort, maintain a consistent customer experience, monitor accounts, ensure legal and regulatory compliance and act quickly when an issue arises are all consequences of a fragmented approach to managing social media."
Less than half of those surveyed by Owyang coordinate their social media approaches, and those that did spent on average $272,000 trying to do so. That is probably undercounting a lot of time that people contribute too.
The other part of the report is evaluating the various management solutions to audit and track an enterprise social media deployment. Here the news is equally depressing, with a lot of immature offerings, incomplete products, and halfway analytic tools. The APIs from the major social media networks are also in a state of flux, so relying on them can be troublesome. He has 27 different vendors arranged in a chart, based on their appropriateness with five different use cases for managing social networks.
Many of these are vendors that aren't well known, or the province of ad agencies that are looking to branch out into social media. The five use cases are: an intense engagement to handle a high customer volume of tweets, posts and comments; social broadcasting that is more of a one-way communication; platform marketing on Facebook and Twitter; a distributed brand presence where a hotel or restaurant chain tries to coordinate actions across their many properties; and highly tailored or custom solutions. For each one he highlights a couple of the management vendors that excel in that particular area.
If you are looking to get back some control over your social media mess, it is worth your time to
view Owyang's report here on Slideshare.