By Andrew Jenkins
I am currently working on a strategic planning project and I am incorporating the Balanced Scorecard developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton. It got me thinking about how one might apply the Scorecard to social media strategies. I know that I am not the first to consider such an approach but I still thought it worthwhile to give you my take on it.
Historically, strategies have predominantly been measured on the financial impact that they brought about. The Balanced Scorecard was developed to provide a more holistic approach to devising strategic objectives for an organization and measure the outcomes.
The Scorecard is comprised of four perspectives:
- People (a.k.a. Learning) - Develop Workforce
- Internal - Enhance Operational Efficiencies
- Customers - Grow Market Share Or Share of Wallet
- Financial - Improve Profitability
When an organization is considering its social media strategy, a Balanced Scorecard might look like this:
- People - Develop the social media capability of the workforce
- Internal - Embed social media within operations where possible and appropriate
- Customers - Layer social media onto existing marketing activities
- Financial - Lower cost marketing and customer engagement
From wikis for collaboration and information sharing to CEO’s who tweet, social media can and should become part of an organization’s operational DNA. Granted it may not be possible and/or appropriate in every case but companies are changing how they create and share information as part of their collaborative efforts. In some ways, social media can be credited for making the walls between business units or silos and management layers more porous and less of an obstacle standing in the way of solving problems and making progress.As I have suggested in previous posts, social media is not meant to replace your historical marketing efforts. Social media is meant to complement and extend what you are already doing. Numerous examples such as One Million Acts of Green take the holistic approach and integrate social media into their overall marketing strategy. Customers have not migrated completely from all other mediums to social media alone. Reaching them will still require a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach. Tweeting alone just will not do it. This new approach will also raise the potential for higher quality customer interaction with the prospect of converting customers to fans and, ultimately and hopefully, into advocates.
Given the economic climate, companies have to do more with less yet still be able to reach an audience that becomes more fractured and elusive every day. If used properly and effectively, social media enables global reach but with an air of customer intimacy not easily attained through other more conventional or historical marketing means. Who wouldn’t want to nurture richer, more profitable customer relationships at a lower cost? I should repeat one caveat - the cost might be lower in terms of dollars spent on ad buys, technical tools or print but there is still a cost associated with the time and effort that have to be applied.
So those are the four areas of the Balanced Scorecard for Social Media as I see them. You may agree or disagree. I am simply suggesting that if an organization takes a Balanced Scorecard approach to social media, determines key objects for each of the four perspectives, and commits to track progress against those objectives then it will most likely end up in a better position. The key for success, however, requires that the organization, as with all Balanced Scorecard and strategic planning initiatives, own it and see it as an ongoing activity rather than a single event.
Is such ownership possible? I hope so.
I welcome your comments.