Pretty solid job by the team at Altimeter, and an interesting read at that. Print it, share it, let your boss read it, learn from it what matters, and apply what you can. (If the embed doesn’t work for you, check out the report here.)

One tiny little thought: The emphasis on having a strong background in marketing or digital media without also including customer service in that bucket is an error, in my opinion. Marketing and digital media tend to focus mostly on content and push, which is why so many social media programs currently go nowhere. By excluding (or omitting) the natural inbound nature of customer service communications and the crucial customer-facing experience that comes with the discipline, the study fails to identify a vital aspect of a successful Social Media Strategist’s skill-set. (Not knocking the report. It merely reflects the state of Social Media adoption in the enterprise in 2010.)

One of the main reasons why companies fail in the space is because of their emphasis on hiring or promoting the wrong people to this type of role – People whose professional backgrounds tend to skew their “social media strategy” towards marketing and digital. What companies end up with is essentially marketing being pushed out to social media channels rather than the holistic social business evolution that companies like Ford, Starbucks and Zappos are currently exploring, with notable success.

The emphasis on these two areas of expertise is at the crux of the problem facing social media integration in business today. Effective social media program development reaches far beyond ‘marketing’ and ‘digital.’ Look at figure 6.3: How many social media programs touch on customer service and product management? 1% and 1%, respectively. That is ridiculous. 1%?!?! Meanwhile, Marketing and Corporate Communications get the lion’s share of the social media management role with 41% and 30% respectively, and Digital gets 11%. This imbalance is symptomatic of the problem: How can customer service and product management find themselves all but excluded from the typical business’ social media practice? What I see here is far too much emphasis on push.

No wonder social media still doesn’t work for most companies. (And no, “followers” don’t count until they are converted to loyal, vocal customers.) “Reach” is a means to an end, not an outcome. The emphasis on marketing in the space is creating an obvious imbalance – now quantified, thanks to this report.

Fascinating little report and great snapshot of the state of Social Media management today. Bookmarked, saved, and printed (yes, on paper) for good measure.