Ed. note: This post is the fifth in a series drawing from Mainstay Salire’s study on Social Media ROI: Quantifying the Benefits of Social Media Marketing Platforms for the Enterprise. Download the entire report for free here.
Although social media has been around a few years, most businesses are just beginning to learn how to harness its power to build sales and customer loyalty. Most of the companies we studied had already made forays into social media, typically by launching a corporate Facebook Page. Early marketing tests also convinced executives of the value of extending these social media initiatives to branches and affiliates in local markets.
But often these efforts stalled after executives confronted the complexities and costs of building a broader presence at the local level. For regulated companies — including banks, insurers, and educational institutions — the prospect of turning agents, advisors, and school administrators loose on Facebook and Twitter raised compliance concerns.
Companies in non-regulated industries, while less focused on legal and compliance issues, wanted to protect their brands with message and brand consistency but still allow for authentic content. The logistics and expense of distributing corporate content to local networks, enabling staff, and monitoring local communications presented a daunting challenge.
The Social Media “Chasm’”
We refer to this set of obstacles as the social media “chasm”—and each company in our study overcame it through a combination of innovative strategies and investments. The below figure illustrates the chasm as faced by regulated companies. Non-regulated companies face a similar journey, minus the compliance issues.
Marketing executives agreed that implementing an integrated social media marketing platform helped their organizations overcome the social media “chasm” and achieve value sooner than if they had continued to rely on fragmented social media environments. Lacking an enterprise platform, most organizations would have delayed rollouts to branches, agencies, stores, and local affiliates, or they would have spent too heavily on technical and marketing staff to maintain corporate- local networks. Specifically, the Hearsay Social platform:
- Eliminated compliance as a barrier to social media
- Simplified and optimized creation-to-post process
- Accelerated local adoption of social media
- Supported scale-out of social media programs
As shown below, companies investing in Hearsay Social’s enterprise social media platform passed over the chasm earlier than otherwise and realized business value sooner. Moreover, by promoting greater adoption and innovation (more than just compliance) at the local level, companies saw value beyond what was expected.