[Guide] The Social Media Management Maturity Model

Is your organization optimizing its potential on social?

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Published June 6th 2024

Social Media Maturity: How To Level Up Your Social Team

We explain the concept of social media maturity and offer guidance on how you can use Brandwatch’s Social Media Management Maturity Model to improve your organization's social media function.

Today there are over 5 billion people on social media. Yet many organizations still struggle to scale their social media efforts and maximize their potential and impact. 

How mature is your organization’s social media strategy? And what will it take for your social media team to level up and thrive? 

In this blog, we’ll introduce you to the concept of social media maturity and show you a framework your organization can use to advance your social media function and efforts. 

What is social media maturity and why does it matter? 

Organizational maturity is about how well an organization can leverage its accumulated expertise to improve its various functions.  

Improving social media maturity is specifically about advancing the effectiveness of the social media function of an organization in a number of key areas: 

Measuring social media maturity helps organizations work out where they stand with their strategies, procedures, technologies, and knowledge against an established framework for continuous improvement. 

Why does your social media maturity matter? 

In a 2023 Brandwatch survey, 71% of 517 marketing professionals agreed that social media is becoming more fragmented. This fragmentation makes it harder for companies to build brand awareness, maintain their competitive presence online, and acquire new customers.  

Meanwhile, our analysis shows brand-owned accounts contribute just 1.51% of total posts discussing their brands on X. While the percentage seems small, it’s not necessarily a negative sign. What’s more important is how brands use their voice on social media to influence their audience, and how they engage with and leverage the wider conversation.  

There’s always room to improve brand visibility and engagement, signaling a need for companies to amplify their voices and presence on social. 

But simply posting and engaging more online isn’t enough. An effective social media strategy and how well your social team executes are just as important. 

Organizations need to think and act faster if they want to maintain their competitive edge. And the effectiveness of your social media efforts depends on the level of maturity within your organization. 

Assessing social media maturity reveals how effective your social media function is and where additional investment could help you level up your efforts and boost your bottom line. Focusing on social media maturity is about optimizing your social media management capabilities for maximum impact. 

Brandwatch’s Social Media Management Maturity Model 

We used Brandwatch's extensive collective experience in social media intelligence and social media management, combined with insights from 15 internal experts who support and coach top brands on social, to create the Social Media Management Maturity Model.

This framework outlines stages of advancement in social media, from beginner to advanced, and defines the key attributes associated with each stage of maturity.

This Maturity Model is designed to help social media leaders identify gaps in their strategy, and it offers guidance on how organizations can advance further to achieve their objectives.  

At each level of the model, we’ve outlined specific behaviors and challenges that can indicate where an organization fits on the model.  

You might be able to identify the level of maturity in your organization by simply scanning through the above graphic. 

Below, we’ll provide more explanation about each level of social media maturity and the corresponding behaviors associated with that stage. 

Level 1: Beginner 

Typically, at the beginner level of social media maturity, organizations post natively and sporadically, or they may have never posted. When organizations begin their social media journey, they often don’t have clearly defined roles, ownership of social media-related tasks, or social media marketing plans. 

Individuals involved in social media at such organizations may face strong resistance over the value of social media internally.  

They may be tracking basic metrics but still need to create real social media goals and a foundational social media strategy.  

Level 2: Mid-level 

Companies at the mid-level of social media maturity are more strategic in their approach to social media marketing. Social media teams at such organizations typically have clearly defined KPIs. They've already built a social media marketing strategy and now are looking for more ambitious targets to aim for. 

Yet, they might not have a central source of truth for processes and policies, and despite having a strong vision for social media, they might struggle with execution.

Marketing teams at the mid-level of their social media maturity journey may experiment with different social media marketing tools and approaches. At this stage, social teams will likely start tracking more strategic metrics to measure the progress and success of their social media marketing campaigns – and to improve their efficiency. 

Level 3: Advanced 

More mature social media teams tend to leverage advanced social media management tools, dashboards, and metrics to inform their strategic decisions.

At the advanced level, it's about effectively communicating and aligning with other teams. Organizations at this level of social media maturity often have a single, centralized social media strategy, clear processes, and a fully invested leadership team.

Mature social media teams tend to act with flexibility and invest time in learning and experiments that improve ROI.

Once you figure out which level of social media maturity fits your organization best, you can then create a plan for the next steps to improve your social media management function. 

If you want to discover more specific insights and actions your organization can take to advance your social media efforts, read our comprehensive Social Media Management Maturity Guide. 

How can the Maturity Model help your specific social media needs? 

Read through the list to discover insights on how Brandwatch’s Social Media Management Maturity model can address the most pressing social media need within your organization.  

Sharpen your social media marketing strategy 

The Maturity Model offers steps organizations can take to build more confidence in their social media plan. This may include agreeing on team goals, conducting an internal social media audit, and identifying opportunities such as winning content, best time to post, and other helpful insights you can then build into your strategy. 

By following the steps in the Maturity Model framework, your organization can shape its content strategy and learn how to use social media data more effectively. 

As a result, your social team will be able to refine the content and strategy to better cater to your audience’s needs and preferences and to reach more people.  

Brand management and crisis response 

How consistent is your brand? Organizations can use the maturity framework to assess their brand management strategies, including brand messaging, tone of voice, brand personality, and the existence of crisis response protocols and templates.

By aligning all content that gets published with their brand values and objectives, organizations will enhance their brand consistency, deliver better customer care, and improve their reputation over time. 

Better workflows and stakeholder management 

The Maturity Model Guide provides guidance on how organizations can create better synergy and drive effectiveness across teams, departments, and regions. 

This may involve creating and streamlining processes and documentation, such as training plans and handover documents, and assigning clear roles and responsibilities within the organization. 

By implementing the best practices outlined in the Social Media Maturity Model Guide, your organization can improve its operational efficiency, strengthen relationships with various stakeholders, and scale its efforts on social.  

Get and keep senior buy-in on the value of social 

When you have a better understanding of the Social Media Management Maturity Model and where your organization sits, to make the actual improvements necessary to move up in the maturity journey social media teams will need to secure buy-in from senior leadership. 

What does senior buy-in mean? 

When top management is not on board with a project, it becomes really hard for the team initiating said project to succeed. Having support from senior leadership is critical when starting any initiative, let alone trying to advance on a social media maturity journey. 

Senior leadership does more than just approve the budget. When senior leaders are committed, they’ll amplify your ideas and actively push them forward across the organization to achieve the desired outcomes.

Leadership buy-in also helps establish the value of your social media programs across the organization, leading to more opportunities for collaboration and bigger impact. 

But proving the value of social media to your leadership may take time.  

Here are a few ways social teams can leverage social media data to demonstrate the impact: 

  1. Align social media initiatives with company goals. Show how the outcomes of social media campaigns contribute to reaching your key business objectives. These may include increasing brand awareness, growing your follower count, and generating sales. 
  2. Track and showcase ROI. When measuring the effectiveness of your social media initiatives, consider various metrics beyond conversations. You may look at your website metrics, such as campaign-driven website traffic, conversions, and bounce rate. You can assess your community metrics, including likes, shares, and comments. Customer support can also help reveal changes in the response time, response rate, and customer satisfaction score. 
  3. Leverage social proof. Social media managers can surface positive brand mentions highlighting success stories that can further illustrate the importance of social media to leadership. This is a nice qualitative insight to add to your quantitative argument. 
  4. Track growth over time. Tracking metrics like continued growth of reach, engagement, and follower count over time, can help social media teams produce helpful insights to validate their efforts with leadership. And show a trajectory for where numbers could go with additional investment. 

Discover what buy-in looks like at different stages of social media maturity and more actionable strategies to level up your social media efforts in our new Social Media Management Maturity Model Guide.  

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The Social Media Management Maturity Model

Is your organization optimizing its potential on social? Here's a practical framework for leveling up your social media team..

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