By Liam Dowd - July 15th, 2014

With the year-on-year growth and buzz around social media, there is a case that we've taken our eye off the prize

The 4th annual State of Corporate Social Media Briefing has recently been published and the insights are somewhat surprising and dare I say a concern.

Anyone working within corporate social media will know that the past four or five years has seen accelerated growth and change - unmatched in nearly all other areas of business.

However this year's briefing lends the idea that the growth and use of social media within corporate brands is plateauing. And more worringing, social media execs are preventing its growth.

Below are five findings taken from the briefing that give the indication that social media is stagnating...

  1. The rise of social, no longer – This year’s briefing finds that social’s not getting any higher up the organisation. Nearly 70% of respondents state that they still report to their head of marketing or communications
  2. Simplistic KPIs – of the top three KPIs in this year’s briefing, two are simplistic at best. We thought the ‘number of followers’ as a KPI was a thing of the past; however 47% of brands state this as being of their top three. Measuring ‘web traffic’ was another top KPI, again simplistic and one that wouldn’t resonate with the C-Suite
  3. Fewer budgets are increasing – The number of companies who see their social media budget increasing has dropped 47% over the last year. Only 41% of brands see their budgets increasing this year, the majority of them (53%) say their budgets will increase by less than 25%
  4. Social media teams are shrinking – There are fewer executives working on social than in previous years – either exclusively or part of their job role. This year’s briefing highlights that the number of companies with four people or more using as part of their role has shrunk year on year since 2011
  5. Lack of C-Suite buy in – Our findings show that only 50% of brands’ C-Suite aren't convinced of the value of social. 

Nick Johnson, founder of Useful Social Media and author of the Briefing, highlights the lack of measurable impact being central to a potential stagnation.

Social has hit a glass ceiling - it can’t prove value in the boardroom, and executives are thus finding growth opportunities curtailed. All this talk about social being about ‘ROE’ and ‘ROR’ creates a series of tweetable soundbites, but gets short shrift in a boardroom looking for real business impacts they can understand.”

“For social to fully leverage its potential across business, the social media executive must begin to get a handle on measurement. It is only with the successful tracking of impacts - using metrics the CFO and CEO can understand - that the social media advocates within a business will get the buy-in they need to succeed,” argues Nick.

The question is do you agree with the above? Do you sit in the stagnating camp or the maturing camp? Please do download your free copy of this year’s briefing, and see where you sit.

Some select arguments for the maturing camp can be found within the ‘Corporate Social Media 2014: A Stage of Maturity?’ article.

Please do share your thoughts below or better yet join the conversation on Twitter using #stateofcsm

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