The previous article in our ‘Social Media Planning Pays’ series, Step 6 Post 1 presented our Balanced Scorecard (BSC) approach to social media strategy development, implementation and performance measurement. One of the first steps in a successful BSC implementation is to agree your core business objectives. Your Scorecard should include a detailed list of the main business objectives to be achieved from social media: how these will be measured (Key Performance Indicators); and the specific targets to be achieved for each KPI.
Unfortunately, this has become one of the most overlooked aspects of social media. In the rush to get involved, many organisations have failed to ask the fundamental question – WHY? Even when the question is addressed, many organisations find it difficult to document their social media objectives, targets and KPIs.
Given the time and resource involved in implementing a successful social media strategy, the following questions should be addressed at an early stage in the planning process:
- What will social media contribute to our business?
- What are the main business/marketing communications objectives to be achieved?
- What are our SMART targets for each objective (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound)?
- How will progress towards achieving these targets be measured?
- What Return on Investment (ROI) is required to justify the time, resource and costs involved?
- How can we measure this?
Used effectively, social media can deliver a wide range of business benefits to any organisation. Potential benefits include:
- Enhanced market knowledge, customer insight and understanding
- Improved customer experience, brand loyalty, retention and repeat business
- Cost effective brand and reputation management
- Enhanced customer feedback and comment
- Increased sales
- More cost efficient and effective marketing
- Higher ROI on marketing spend
- Building a ‘quality customer base’ – a strong online network of high value, high growth potential customers
- Engage with, energise and leverage key customers and influencers
- Engage and co-create new product development, improving speed to market acceptance and lower R&D costs
- Reduced operating costs and improved efficiency through the use of open source software and hosted applications
A core business objective for many companies, especially SMEs, could be the use of social media to overcome ‘traditional’ barriers to exporting, leading to the more rapid internationalisation of the SME sector – see our previous post on this topic ‘Social Media and SME Internationalisation’
Based on our extensive consultancy experience in this area, we would make two main recommendations to assist in documenting your social media objectives:
First, cluster your main goals and objectives under five main headings:
- Market/Customer Knowledge & Insight
- Engagement & Reputation Management
- Enhanced Customer Experience and Loyalty
- Sales/Marketing Effectiveness, Efficiency and ROI
- Operations/ Internal Processes (open source and hosted apps)
Second, to ensure that limited resources are concentrated on areas of high ROI, prioritise each objective and a timescale for achievement.
The Template attached below should help your thinking in this area. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any help in documenting your Social Media Objectives, KPIs and Targets.
Step 6 Post 3 will examine the related issue of agreeing KPIs for each objective.
As usual, comment and feedback are very welcome.
Jim, Alan and Vincent