Part two of a five-part series

In the last installment, I blogged about “Random Acts of Social”, the awkward early stage at which sales team members use social networks in an unmanaged, disjointed, and uncoordinated way.

In this post, I’ll tackle Stage 2: Social Media Policy.

The Policy stage of the SSMM is marked by a desire to mitigate the risks associated with Random Acts of Social.

As social selling starts to spread across an organization, management typically becomes concerned about potential risks associated with salespeople publishing content directly to the market. At this point Marketing (and Compliance for regulated industries) step in to bring discipline and consistency to the company’s branding and messaging on social networks.

At this stage, companies make important structural changes that clear the way for future social selling. They write and distribute a corporate social media policy. (Want to see examples of real-world social media policies? Chris Boudreaux has collected a whole database of them, which you can access here.) These policies establish guidelines and processes for monitoring employee use of social media. In regulated industries this often includes the introduction of a social media compliance platform.

This is also the stage at which Marketing begins to assert itself as the authoritative voice of the brand. Within the last 12-18 months, B2B marketers have begun to embrace social marketing in ways that rival their B2C peers. A 2014 study by Content Marketing Institute found that 91% of B2B marketers publish content on LinkedIn and 85% publish on Twitter. Even Facebook, the most consumer- oriented social network, is used as a publishing platform by 82% of B2B marketers.

ROI perspective. While Policy is an important step in a company’s social selling evolution, this is a defensive move without direct benefits for sales performance.

Frequency: We estimate that roughly 25% of B2B enterprises have advanced to this stage.

Next Installment: Stage 3 – Social Selling Training.

You can download the full Social Selling Maturity Model from our website.