Before we discuss the ins and outs of social media maturity, let’s take a closer look at the current state of social media:
Social media is used by 4.62 billion people, i.e., over half of the global population and 93.4% of internet users
Internet users spend more than a third of their online time on social media
In the U.S., at least 82% of internet users are on social media
Considering these statistics, it becomes evident that social media platforms offer a highly fertile ground for implementing your marketing strategies. Users spend a significant portion of their day scrolling through their social feeds, creating ample opportunities to intelligently position your brand messaging and capture their attention.
Moreover, it is crucial to acknowledge that social media marketing undeniably generates tangible results. This assertion is supported by the projected 20% increase in digital advertising expenditures in 2023, with certain sectors anticipating an astonishing surge of 49%.
Now that we recognize the pivotal role social media should play in our marketing ecosystem, let's delve into the concept of social media maturity.
What is social media maturity (and the social media maturity model)?
The term "social media maturity" refers to the level of sophistication in a company's social media strategies and practices. It encompasses various aspects, including policies for posting from official company handles, the technologies employed to manage multiple social media accounts and the degree to which social media is integrated into all marketing verticals of the company.
The social media maturity model is a framework that categorizes a company's current social media maturity into five distinct levels. It serves as a hierarchical structure highlighting how well-developed and advanced your social media ecosystem is. In simpler terms, it assesses how effectively your company has embraced social media marketing to achieve its goals.
In essence, the social media maturity model aims to answer a fundamental question: How proficient are you in leveraging social media for marketing purposes?
It's important to note that achieving high social media maturity requires utilizing social media to address fundamental challenges. This necessitates employing appropriate tools and establishing a foundation of knowledge-based resources for both the marketing and social media teams.
Why should you care about social media maturity?
Social media plays such a vital role in digital marketing efforts that it has the potential to cultivate a dedicated following for a brand. A single remarkable post can capture the attention of individuals who may be unreachable through any other channel simply because no other digital platform attracts as many spontaneous scrollers who genuinely want to be there.
For instance, while you can certainly send engaging email newsletters, people typically don't hang out on their Gmail for leisure. However, they willingly spend their free time on Instagram or other social media platforms. On social media, you can captivate individuals who are naturally more interested and invested in the content they are consuming.
Therefore, it is essential to assess whether your social media strategies effectively capture your target audience's attention. Are they sparking critical conversations? Are they engaging people intellectually and/or emotionally? Are they making your brand memorable?
The social media maturity model addresses these questions. It reveals whether your strategies are sophisticated enough to navigate the preferences of modern audiences. Additionally, it can serve as a valuable indicator of your social media team's ability to handle and mitigate crises through the appropriate platforms.
Here are a few other benefits of using a social media maturity model:
Establishing comprehensive reports that provide a shared understanding of the current state of social media across the team
Requesting and justifying the need for investments in social media marketing
Developing a clear vision and actionable goals to drive real-world growth
By leveraging a social media maturity model, you can gauge the effectiveness of your strategies, make informed decisions and propel your brand's presence in the digital landscape.
The 5 levels of the social media maturity model
Whether you are just starting out or looking to enhance your existing social media strategies, understanding these levels will empower you to make informed decisions and unlock the full potential of social media for your business.
Level 1: New to the scene
At this stage, you have recently created accounts on various social media platforms to represent your company. You may have made a few posts, but no cohesive growth strategy is in place.
A common characteristic of this level is when individual departments operate their own social media accounts, representing their respective teams rather than the entire company. These social media efforts are typically independent and lack supervision from company management or the marketing team. The content posted focuses on specific teams, with little to no input from marketing teams or PR professionals.
Level 1 represents the most basic level of social media maturity. At this point, you are exploring and experimenting with different types of content to engage your audience. The insights gained during this stage are valuable lessons that can help you develop more robust social media strategies to generate a high return on investment (ROI).
Level 2: Active but inconsistent
You have established social media profiles and make occasional posts at this level. However, you lack a structured social media calendar, and your posts do not consistently align with a defined brand tone or narrative. Individual team members are typically responsible for creating and publishing social media content without a cohesive, overarching plan.
In this stage, it is vital to recognize the need for greater coordination and collaboration within your social media efforts. Developing a social media calendar and ensuring all posts adhere to a consistent brand tone and narrative will enhance your overall brand presence and messaging. By transitioning from individual-centric posting to a team-oriented approach, you can lay the foundation for more cohesive and strategic social media practices.
Level 3: Evolving
After learning from the previous stages, you have evolved in your social media maturity. You now have a dedicated social media team equipped with a well-defined strategy. You adhere to a predetermined social media calendar, and all your content is thoughtfully curated to maintain consistent brand standards.
Social media integration extends across all company verticals, synchronizing various teams and departments to provide insights and input for regular posts. The focus now shifts to scalability, deeper integration of social media with overall company activities and taking initial steps toward community management.
Furthermore, at this stage, you have a support team to address queries and concerns from your social media audience. Building rapport with your followers, as well as the larger social media population, becomes a priority. Leave no stone unturned when providing support; it is a powerful way to strengthen relationships and foster engagement.
As you continue to evolve, strive for greater integration, refine your community management practices and prioritize proactive customer support to solidify your position in the social media landscape.
Level 4: Leading the game
As the title suggests, you excel in social media at this level. Social media not only plays a significant role in your company's growth strategy but also becomes instrumental in defining your brand identity.
Your social media posts generate substantial engagement, and your performance metrics are on par with other industry leaders and competitors. The marketing team has successfully led multiple campaigns integrated across various departments, all aligned with the company-wide goals.
At this stage, you are also open to exploring new social media platforms beyond the conventional ones. You are willing to experiment with emerging platforms like Discord and established platforms like X, formerly Twitter. This willingness to embrace new platforms demonstrates your forward-thinking approach and adaptability to evolving social media trends.
As you continue to lead the game, keep pushing the boundaries, fostering innovation and leveraging social media to enhance your brand identity further and achieve your business objectives.
Level 5: Innovator, master, trailblazer
Congratulations, you have reached the pinnacle of social media mastery. At this level, every aspect of your company, including marketing, sales, product and customer support, is fully integrated with your social media efforts.
Your company manages multiple active accounts, consistently publishing high-quality content. You have delved deep into experimentation, fearlessly exploring different, slightly edgy content strategies. As a result, you have garnered a large following of dedicated fans. Ideally, you may have even attracted some passionate critics (a sign that you have genuinely achieved social media royalty).
Whether it's on platforms like TikTok, Discord or the tried-and-true Instagram, your posts directly and profoundly impact your brand's identity and standards. Your social media presence has become a driving force in shaping your company's reputation and setting industry standards.
As an innovator, master and trailblazer, continue pushing boundaries, embracing new technologies and trends, and maintaining your commitment to social media excellence. Staying ahead of the curve will cement your position as a true leader in the social media landscape.
How to level up your social media maturity
Here are some tips to guide you toward a more sophisticated and impactful social media presence.
Moving from level 0 to 1
When transitioning from Level 0 to Level 1 of social media maturity, it's crucial to lay the foundation for future growth.
Here are the steps you should take:
Select which social platforms to sign up for
What content to post on each of the platforms you sign up for
Decide if you’ll be taking ownership or if someone with requisite knowledge of the domain needs to be hired
At this juncture, you’ll need:
Approval from management on making the company’s social media a priority
Time, resources and space to learn the basics
Possible buy-in on hiring a social media specialist
The first step of an actionable plan for consistent social media management
Level 1 to 2
Transitioning from Level 1 to Level 2 requires establishing a cohesive social media strategy and focusing on achieving measurable results.
At this juncture, you’ll need:
A primary supervisor who can oversee collaboration between management, the social media team and other internal teams; also responsible for leading efforts to create a company-wide social media plan that aligns with the overall business objectives
Clear, stakeholder-approved business plan for social media efforts
An early blueprint of company-wide policies that govern social media posting
The first draft of a social media calendar, as well as establish a list of social media KPIs to monitor and evaluate the success or failure of your social media efforts
Level 2 to 3
After establishing a social media content publication routine, it's time to upgrade and enhance your social media presence. At this juncture, you’ll need:
Consistent collaborations with other teams (especially sales) so that you can use social media to boost key initiatives and get ideas for paid campaigns
Alignment with other departments so that all relevant stakeholders know about the company’s social media strategy
A trained team that is capable of using social media to further business objectives & provide customer care (L2 is where you start training them)
A social media management tool that lets you centralize all your publishing, reporting, monitoring and analytics from a single dashboard
Level 3 to 4
Congratulations on reaching Level 3 and gaining management's attention! To continue elevating your social media game and progress to Level 4, it's time to take some calculated risks, innovate with strategies and set trends in your industry.
At this juncture, you’ll need:
Multiple specialists for social media activity alone
Experimental strategies that look toward new, unconventional social channels and content formats
Track social media metrics, online trends, conversation and audience sentiment (with the right tool)
Relationships with influencers and reputable content creators whose analyses of your product/company can create organic interest, traffic and conversions
User-generated content to drive greater user loyalty
Tools that let you quickly, accurately and seamlessly track the right KPIs and impact on the company's bottom line
Investment in relevant social advocacy programs
Level 4 to 5
Congratulations on becoming an absolute leader in social media marketing and achieving outstanding results! It's time to embrace your creative, innovative impulses and prioritize ongoing experimentation and evolution to elevate your social media game and reach Level 5.
At this juncture, you need to:
Give in to those creative, innovative impulses within you
Prioritize innovation above “what works right now”
Stay informed and utilize new technologies, platforms, best practices, etc.
Run A/B tests on all your posts to see what resonates most with audiences
Formulate and track more sophisticated metrics that look at achievement beyond the bottom line – user sentiments, sources of influence and recurring customer rates
Sprinklr Social: Your technology partner in advancing your social media maturity
As you climb the social media maturity ladder, having the right plans, people and platforms in place becomes crucial. Regardless of the nature of your social efforts, monitoring activities across multiple channels, engaging with people, answering queries and building rapport while providing valuable information and product suggestions are essential.
Achieving all this manually is a daunting task, which is why a dedicated social media management, monitoring and magnification tool like Sprinklr Social can be a game-changer.
Sprinklr Social enables you to scan and engage with audiences across every digital channel. With a single, unified dashboard, you can view and interact with all your social media channels in one place.
Here are some standout features of Sprinklr Social that matter for your brand strategy:
Interact with customers across 35+ social and messaging channels: Engage with your audience seamlessly across various platforms, ensuring a consistent and personalized experience
Integrated listening: Identify, study and participate in relevant conversations that may not directly involve your brand but provide opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership and engage with your target audience
AI-driven automated inbound triaging: Categorize messages by intent using AI technology, allowing you to prioritize conversations and respond more efficiently
Track branded content across all digital channels: Monitor the development and deployment of your branded content while enabling cross-team collaboration and visibility, all within a single platform
Account-level permissions and governance: Implement controls to prevent PR crises and ensure adherence to brand hygiene by defining permissions and governance rules for content publication
Global compliance framework: Apply filters and implement moderation processes to maintain a global compliance framework, ensuring approvals and governance rules are followed
We encourage you to connect with us if you're convinced or just curious about how Sprinklr can help your social media efforts climb the maturity ladder.