Steps 1 to 5 of our Social Media Development Cycle (see previous posts) will establish a strong foundation for future social media strategy development and implementation within your organisation. Issues already covered include evaluating your social media landscape; key performance indicators; internal social media audit; and your organisation’s ‘readiness to engage’.
Steps 6 to 10 cover strategy development and action plans for ‘getting there’. A number of articles will be posted over the next few weeks covering social media strategy development; key actions and initiatives; organisation, resource and people issues; implementation; and performance measurement. Post 1 covers the overall approach we adopt to these issues.
Based on our extensive consultancy experience in this area, we would recommend the use of a simplified Balanced Scorecard approach (see www.balancedscorecard.org) to social media strategy development and implementation. This will ensure that the social media actions and initiatives you introduce will be fully aligned with and supportive of your overall business goals and objectives; that KPIs are agreed for monitoring and evaluating social media performance, business impact and ROI; and that all key success factors are considered, especially the organization, people and resource aspects critical to successful strategy implementation.
A Scorecard approach can also be very useful for internal and external communications – a simple framework to present social media goals, objectives, key actions and initiatives to colleagues, partners and other stakeholders.
The process involved in developing a Social Media Balanced Scorecard is relatively straightforward and intuitive. For SMEs, it is something that can be completed in days rather than months. For larger organisations, it may take longer due to the involvement of a greater number of people or departments; but we are not talking here about ‘paralysis by analysis’. By providing an agreed framework to follow, the Balanced Scorecard considerably speeds up the strategy development and implementation phases.
The steps involved in developing and implementing a Social Media Balanced Scorecard can be summarised in a simple Strategy Map as shown in Figure 1. There are five key questions to address:
1. What is the overall social media vision for your organisation?
This should comprise a very short statement of what you are trying to achieve from social media and how it will be done. It should provide a clear sense of strategic direction to future activities. A typical Social Media Mission Statement would be as follows: ‘Using a phased implementation approach, to fully leverage social media opportunities for building a strong online network of high value, high growth potential customers providing our organisation with a solid foundation for achieving sustained growth and profitability‘.
It is often quicker and easier to leave the Social Media Mission Statement until all other scorecard steps have been completed. The Mission then captures where your organisation is going.
2. What are the key objectives and targets to be achieved?
Your Social Media Balanced Scorecard should include a detailed list of the main business objectives to be achieved; how these will be measured (Key Performance Indicators); and the specific targets to be achieved for each KPI. This is often the most overlooked aspect of social media. What are your intended business outcomes and how will progress towards achieving these objectives be measured? In the rush to become ‘cool and funky’, many organisations have set up social media platforms without thinking strategically. What will these platforms contribute to our business? How will we measure performance and ROI? Do we have the time and organisational resource to support all of the platforms on an on-going basis? What team and resource do we need in place to manage our social media activities?
Using a BSC approach forces companies to think strategically about where they are going in social media. It ensures that future activites are fully aligned and supportive of core business goals and objectives; and that full account is taking of organisational, people and resource issues critical to social media success.
We find the BSC distinction between ‘lag’ and ‘lead’ measures to be very useful in agreeing social media goals and objectives. ‘Lag’ measures are your ultimate business objectives (e.g. increased sales, lower costs, increased profits etc). ‘Lead’ measures are the main ‘drivers’ that allow you to achieve your core business objectives. In a social media environment, the main ‘drivers’ of future business performance are the ‘4Is’ – Involvement, Interaction, Intimacy and Influence.
Social media objectives, targets and KPIs (including the ‘4Is’) will be examined in more detail in the next post in this series
3. Who are your customers?
Undertaking a ‘Customer Mapping and Segmentation Analysis’ is critical to your future success in social media. The three key questions to address are:
– Who are our customers?
– Where do we find them ‘hanging out’ on social media?
– How can we best engage with them?
Post 3 in this series will examine these issues and show the way in which a ‘Customer Value Matrix’ can be used to ensure that your social media activities focus on ‘high value, high growth potential, high probability of success’ customers’
4. Key Actions and Initiatives
Once decisions have been made on the overall mission and objectives to be achieved (1 and 2 above) and your target customers (Q3), you then need to agree the key social media actions and initiatives for ‘getting there’. Two main decisions need to be made: which social media channels to use and a ‘step-by-step’ implementation plan for each channel. Post 4 in the series will show the way in which cascading the BSC approach to each channel can help to ensure successful implementation. This is shown clearly in the Strategy Map diagram below where each ‘Social Media Initiative’ has its own Objectives, Targets, KPIs and Actions for getting there.
5. Organisation, Resource and People Issues
Organisation, resource and people issues sit at the bottom of the Social Media Strategy Map not because they are the least important issues to address. Indeed, as many organisations have quickly discovered, they are the among the most important issues to address for successful social media strategy development and implementation. Post 5 will examine the organsiational and people aspects critical to social media success.
As usual, feedback and comment on this post are very welcome.
Figure 1: Social Media Strategy Map