As we continue through the various steps in our Social Media Development Cycle, it may be useful to recap on the key elements of the model. This can be done by summarising, in question format, the key issues to address in planning your social media strategy. Thirty key questions are listed below.
Evaluate Your Social Media Landscape
The starting point in developing a social media engagement strategy is to monitor and evaluate the social media landscape for your business. Social media landscaping will help you decide the best generic strategy to follow in terms of the number of channels used and your depth of engagement in each channel. Key questions to address include:
1. What impact is social media having on your industry, how important has it become?
2. How are your customers using social media? What impact is it having on customer behaviour?
3. What online conversations are taking place relevant to your business; who is saying what about your brand/ industry where online and what sentiments are being expressed? How should you respond?
4. What are the key features and characteristics of social media that you need to understand e.g. sharing, community, customer empowerment, user-generated content, engagement, social media culture, netiquette etc?
5. Based on the above, what social media applications are most relevant to your business and how deep does your level of engagement need to be?
Internal Audit and Evaluate Your ‘Readiness to Engage’
Your Internal Social Media Audit evaluates progress made, benchmarked against agreed criteria. Key questions to address include:
6. What progress have we already made in social media?
7. What channels do we already use?
8. What is our current level of engagement with each channel?
9. What positive business benefits have we derived from our social media activities?
10. Where are the main areas for future improvement?
In answering these questions, it is important to benchmark existing progress against the opportunities presented by your Social Media Landscape; against industry ‘Best Practice’; agreed performance measures and targets. The ‘Strategic Gap’ (i.e. the ‘Gap’ between where you are and where you should be) provides a very strong basis for future social media strategy development.
Supporting the Internal Audit of progress made, you should also undertake an evaluation of your organisation’s ‘Readiness to Engage’, evaluating your social media strengths and weaknesses, the main barriers and obstacles to be overcome.
11. How will we leverage our STRENGTHS?
12. How will we overcome our WEAKNESSES?
13. How will we realise our OPPORTUNITIES?
14. How will we alleviate our THREATS?
Develop Your Social Media Strategy and Action Plans for ‘Getting There’
We recommend the use of a simplified Balanced Scorecard approach to social media strategy development and implementation. This will ensure that your future social media actions and initiatives are fully aligned with and supportive of agreed business goals and objectives; that Key Performance Indicators have been agreed for monitoring and evaluating on-going 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 (see later).
The six key questions to address in a Social Media Balanced Scorecard are:
15. What is the overall social media vision for your organisation?
16. What generic social media strategy should we follow (number of channels/ depth of engagement in each channel)?
17. What are the key objectives and targets to be achieved from social media? Are these fully aligned with and supportive of our overall business goals and objectives?
18. Who are our customers? Where do we find them ‘hanging out’ on social media? How can we best engage with them?
19. What are the main Social Media Actions and Initiatives we need to take – short, medium and longer term?
20. For each priority Social Media Channel, what are the core objectives for that channel; what KPIs will we use to measure on-going channel performance; what are our targets for each KPI; what key tasks do we need to take to achieve these targets?
Social Media Performance Measurement
To ensure that your Social Media activities deliver high ROI, it is important to monitor, measure and evaluate your social media performance on an on-going basis. Key questions to address:
21. What social media performance measures and KPIs should be used – both in terms of the overall ‘buzz’ created and measures for individual channels?
22. What tools/software will be used to assist performance measurement?
23. What reports will be produced, for who and how frequently?
Organization, Resource and People Issues
Organization, resource and people issues sit at the bottom of your SM Balanced Scorecard NOT because they are the least important issues to address. In fact, the exact opposite is true. The success of your social media strategy is very much dependent upon appropriate decisions being made in the areas listed below:
24. Do we have the right organisational ‘culture’ and ‘mindset’ for Social Media? ‘Be social before doing social!’
25. Is the right organisational and decision-making structure in place?
26. Has agreement been reached on resource allocation?
27. Who will be responsible for your social media activities?
28. What balance has been agreed between internal and external roles and responsibilities?
29. Who is the Social Media Champion?
30. Do you have agreed Social Media Policies and Guidelines in place covering ‘Proper Use’, ‘Content Management’, ‘Customer Response Times/Quality’ and ‘Legal’ aspects?
As usual, feedback and comment on this post are very welcome.
Jim, Alan, Vincent