New study finds social’s value extends far beyond posting, suggesting organizations take a more strategic approach

Vancouver, BC, September 22, 2020 — Hootsuite today released its Social Transformation Report, an in-depth analysis of how a powerful social media presence can lead to organizational transformation—especially relevant in the fast-changing global landscape of 2020. The report, developed in partnership with Altimeter Group, reveals that when social media is widespread and integrated across the organization, as a tool to build strong relationships, the value derived from social media is transformative.

“Hootsuite's findings show that the days of social media being used solely as a megaphone by marketing teams should be over,” said Tom Keiser, CEO Hootsuite. “To realize its full value, social needs to be connected into the lifeblood and workflow of the entire organization, not just the social media marketing department—and be completely focused on the customer and the customer’s experience. Every single employee should be involved in forming and executing on the company’s social media strategy.”

Hootsuite and Altimeter Group—who help leaders thrive by providing research and advisory on how to leverage disruptive technologies—applied their research skills and understanding of social media to answer and measure three critical questions:

  • What benefits do organizations achieve when they broaden their use of social media as a business tool across their organization to meet objectives beyond those typical of marketing and communications?
  • To what extent does social media use impact relationships among core constituents, including customers, employees, partners, shareholders, and the community?
  • As organizations broaden their use of social media to influence relationships, how does social help them prepare to meet broader digital and business transformation goals?

“Along the way, we’ve lost sight of one of social media’s most potent attributes: the ability to engage, have a conversation, and develop a relationship,” said Charlene Li, Senior Fellow and Founder of Altimeter and co-author of the Social Transformation Report. “Our research found that focusing on social media’s relationship power led to greater brand health and deepened employee engagement across all channels—not just social media.”

Altimeter and Hootsuite interviewed leaders at nine organizations that exemplify a high level of social maturity and surveyed 2,162 respondents about the use and effectiveness of social media to better understand its changing scope. The analysis showcased that to maximize the power of social media, an organization must take the time to listen to its audience, build strong relationships, and integrate social into all aspects of the business as a strategic communications tool.

This study confirms what we’ve focused on all along as a partner to our customers in their social media maturity journey,” said Keiser. “For social platforms to work for organizations, they need to do more than simply post to the social platforms but also leverage social listening, use data to make better social decisions, integrate with their existing tech stacks, and seek the training and education to achieve their overarching business goals.”

Three key results emerged from the Report:

1. Social media helps companies build closer relationships with stakeholders

The report insists that companies must pursue sophisticated social media strategies—not only by maintaining close contact with customers, but also by significantly expanding interest groups.

Compared to non-Hootsuite users, Hootsuite users maintain closer contact with the online community (65% vs. 54%), employees (31% vs. 21%), partners (23% vs. 19%) and shareholders (15% vs. 8%).

In addition, these companies believe that social media supports the establishment of corporate relationships (67% vs. 49% ), and that close relationships with stakeholders are generally reflected in brand health (84% vs. 63%).

2. Social media increases brand value and operational efficiency

In addition to customer loyalty, social media can benefit employee engagement and brand health through employee advocacy models.

28% of companies surveyed that have implemented an employee advocacy program, have increased the reach of their advertising messages without the placement of advertisements.

3. Social media accelerates the digital transformation of companies

Social media can support companies in their overarching digital transformations, through cultural shifts towards a better understanding of digital relationships and company-wide adoption of mature social media practices.

66% of respondents also agree that social media programs have helped prepare their company for digital transformation.

“Adopting mature social media practices is a stepping stone towards broader digital transformation—an urgent priority for many organizations as they prioritize digital resiliency in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said Ed Terpening, Senior Industry Analyst at Altimeter and co-author of the Social Transformation Report.

Download the Hootsuite Social Transformation Report