One of the biggest challenges organizations face when it comes to social media is “social capacity” – the degree to which they can effectively engage in social media discovery, strategy, implementation and management.

In order to build out programs in a financially efficient manner, some businesses adopt an “off the corner of the desk” approach – where existing employees take on social media responsibilities in addition to their regular job tasks. As social media takes root, some level of success is attained and value becomes established, another challenge begins to presents itself – deciding whether it’s time to assign a dedicated social media leader to guide strategy. When does the opportunity cost of a “desk corner” mind set begin to outweigh the cost of restructuring your social program?

Distributing the burden of social media capacity building across an existing team is a great way to get a program started – and for some organizations, competent tactical implementation and management is as far as they want to go. For those that sense more potential for their organizations, here are a few indications that your social media program is ready to take the next step:

  • Although there is a good sense of the information needs of your audience, decision making based on assumptions rather than social research or community interaction may be the norm.
  • Audience analysis is limited to core targets i.e. customers with limited understanding or focus on other stakeholders that might be influenced/leveraged via social media efforts.
  • Tactical proficiency with respect to social technology is high but there is no formal social media strategy in place.
  • There may be a challenge keeping pace with emerging trends and best practices.
  • Social media measurement may be taking place but it’s not tied to objectives – a sufficient feedback loop with respect to reporting may also be lacking.
  • Social listening is established but may be limited to brand mentions as opposed to a more complete spectrum of keywords.
  • Engagement efforts focus on the social media “low hanging fruit” i.e. Facebook, Twitter with little effort being made to build more complex relationships with bloggers, influencers, etc.

Is your organization at a social media crossroad? What are some other indicators that suggest your social media program might be ready to evolve? The comments are yours!

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About Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas is a Digital Strategist, author and President of Intersection Consulting; a Vancouver based digital marketing agency that teaches organizations how to leverage the dynamics of the web to achieve business goals. Mark is also the managing editor at and is an established marketing and social media practitioner recognized for his visual thinking and practical strategic approach. You can connect with him on Google+.

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