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Social Media Maturity Index: Finding Social Media Engagement Leaders

Develop a blog, start a Facebook fan page, create a Second Life Island; all efforts in building a social media infrastructure that can be used to engage customers and community. Yet, launching a social media website is no indicator that a company will build a thriving engagement strategy. Rather how a company engages customer and community using social media is more important than what technologies they deploy. You might be able to rattle off a list of companies that have a blog, but it is much tougher to identify the companies that have a successful engagement strategy. Jon Garfunkel & I have developed a social media maturity index to make it easier to identify social media engagement leaders. Working with Jon Garfunkel, we took my original ideas, influenced by others, about a social media engagement rating system and developed the social media maturity index. Interestingly, Jon took our same discussion and has his own take on the model, The Open Community Enablement Model (oCEM).

This index can be used to determine the best practitioners in the industry regardless of the size of the company, and as a consequence the community can learn from those leader’s efforts.

One innovation suggested by Jon Garfunkel was changing the existing three point scale of my ranking system to a five point scale for evaluating social media leaders. John suggested we use the Capability Maturity Model’s process for evaluating the level of engagement. I think the maturity index rating should scale from 1 = no involvement, to 5 = heavily involved with engaging customers or deploying social media technology for engagement.

1 Listening
2 Receive Feedback
3 Problem & innovation response
4 Acknowledging & Demonstrating Action
5 Knowledge management

1 Listening – Describes the level of social media monitoring conducted by a company. Integrated into a monitoring system, has a triage system been developed by a company to sort and pass on information within the company?

1 = No monitoring is being conducted.
2 = Limited monitoring is being conducted, maybe at the level of free tools such as Google or Technorati.
3 = A formal monitoring system has been developed and deployed, the monitoring system feeds a triage system that passes information onto people who will respond to opportunities discovered within social media.
5 = Sophisticated routing of opportunities

2 Receive Feedback – A company is ready to receive and accept feedback from customers over the web. Here the customers will use the company’s mechanisms for sending feedback.

1 = No formal mechanism has been made available for customers to give feedback to a company.
3 = Customer feedback is welcomed by a company, however the mechanism is primitive, there has been the embryonic development of a feedback system, and there is a workflow process for who will take action on customer feedback.
5 = Sophisticated web 2.0 tools for customer feedback are being deployed that allow for the aggregation and sifting through of customer feedback, for example, bazaarvoice’s feedback system and’s idea engine.

3 Problem & Innovation Response – Does a company conduct outreach within social media to engage customers and community?

1 = A company does not allow or encourage a response using social media.
3 = Engagement happens on a limited basis, perhaps on the company’s blog or within social media networks, the company is taking a web 1.0 stance in a web 2.0 world. Responses are restricted to thought leadership rather than innovation management or customer support.
5 = Extensive engagement occurs on company social media websites. A company conducts outreach to their community beyond the goal of thought leadership or responding to controversial issues. Goals such as innovation management and customer support are pursued through a response strategy.

4 Acknowledgment & Demonstrating Action – This rating determines the extent to which a company will acknowledge receipt of ideas, and criticism, and how the company demonstrates it is taking action. To achieve a high maturity level a company will have both the processes in place for acknowledging, demonstrating receipt of ideas and taking action, and also deploying a company infrastructure for handling innovation management and customer support issues.

1 = A company may be active on social media and respond to customer feedback, but there is no acknowledgment and demonstration of the actions that will be taken based on customer feedback and suggestions.
2 = System for implementing innovation management embryonic, it is possible to take action based upon feedback but the mechanism is organic.
5 = A process has been developed for acknowledging feedback. When needed, resources and people are committed to taking action. To acknowledge receipt of feedback and ideas, whether a decision is taken to act or not, the decision results are published within social media for public consumption.

5 Knowledge Management - Knowledge Management is the process of recognizing useful information and publishing it in an open, searchable forum. A social media technology is deployed that enables customers and community to contribute and build a resource.

1 = No process or tools are used for building useful knowledge
3 = Off the shelf tools, bookmarking tools like, or wikis are used to collect useful information.
5 = Purpose built tools for knowledge management, active management and moderation of those tools.

Please let us know what you think of the index, and if we should add something or edit the description?