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New Report from Altimeter’s Brian Solis and Charlene Li Reveals Startling Gap Between “Social Media” and a “Social Business”

“The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Media Transformation” outlines six distinct stages as companies mature in social

New research from Altimeter Group’s Charlene Li and Brian Solis explores the range of social media maturity in businesses today. The report, The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Media Transformation, uncovers a distinct gap between organizations that execute social media strategies and those that are truly a “social business.”

The report also provides readers with prescriptive recommendations and checklists for advancing to each maturity stage in the social business evolution.

Li and Solis surveyed approximately 700 executives and social strategists in 2012 and found that only 34 percent of businesses felt their social strategy was connected to business outcomes. A mere 12 percent were confident they had a social media plan that looked beyond the next year.

“Over the last several years, businesses have increased their pace of adopting social media in marketing, customer service, and other capacities. However, most of these businesses are investing in social media without tying those activities to business goals,” explained Solis.

“This disconnect between social media strategies and business value is forcing many executives to rethink their overall approach. It’s about transforming everyday social media initiatives into deeper social business strategies,” he added.

The report outlines six distinct stages that most organizations will have to traverse as they mature their social business strategies. The six stages are defined as Planning, Presence, Engagement, Formalized, Strategic, and Converged. In addition, the report describes seven common success factors for companies achieving success at each stage.

According to Li and Solis, the two most important criteria for a successful social business strategy are that it is 1) clearly aligned with strategic business goals of an organization, and 2) has organizational alignment and support that enables execution of that strategy.

The free report is available for download here.

About Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. Solis is also globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. His new book, What’s the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth.

His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. Prior to End of Business, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

About Charlene Li

Charlene Li is founder of the Altimeter Group and the author of The New York Times bestseller Open Leadership. She is also the coauthor of the critically acclaimed, bestselling book Groundswell, which was named one of the best business books in 2008.

She is one of the foremost experts on social media and technologies and a consultant and independent thought leader on leadership, strategy, social technologies, interactive media, and marketing. She was named one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company in 2010 and one of the most influential women in technology 2009.

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