The Social Media Balanced Scorecard: Balanced External and Internal Social Media Metrics – Critical Components of a World-Class Social Media Program

by Steven Jeffes

In my previous blog entry titled “Social Media Pitfalls and Mistakes – the Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Programs”, I covered the major mistakes companies make when developing and managing enterprise level Social Media programs.  One of the points that I focused on was not utilizing the correct key performance indicators (KPIs) in measuring the success of a social media program. This blog post will highlight the critical components in developing a highly effective social media measurement system and how to craft an effective social media balanced (measurement) scorecard.

Based on my firm’s SMARTE methodology (SMARTE stands for “Social Media Adaptive/Responsive/Transcendent Enterprise”) and direct client experience, I have found that, in order for a large-scale social media program to be successful, a balance must be struck between the internal success metrics and the external success metrics.  By simultaneously establishing and tracking metrics in the following areas, a program can be built on the balanced scorecard concept so that the most effective social media program is delivered externally via the optimal internal delivery model:

External Balanced Scorecard Metrics – How the program is perceived by external stakeholders and participants to be fair, engaging, referable, worth following, responsive, etc.

Internal Balanced Scorecard Metrics: How the program is perceived by internal company stakeholders to be efficient, effective, systemic, consistent, compliant, repeatable, etc.

If we place the external scorecard metrics in the numerator of the Equation and the internal scorecard metrics in the denominator the result is the Social Media Program Balanced Scorecard.

Before we demonstrate an example how this balanced scorecard can be used, let’s take a look at some of the specific measures for both the external success metrics (balanced scorecard numerator) as well as the internal success metrics (balanced scorecard denominator) for this balanced social media measurement scorecard.

Top 10 Market & Stakeholder Focused/External Social Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
1. Forum Engagement Score: Rating by stakeholders in each forum on how creative the program is in terms of engaging and interacting with the overall community
2. Forum Referral Score: How often program followers and stakeholders refer other people to follow the forum of interest
3. Forum Audience Score (Relative to Other Community Audiences): Rating by forum participants on how fair the program is in terms of consistent responses
4. Forum Responsiveness/Quality Metric: Rating by stakeholders on how responsive the social media program is to their needs and sentiment
5. Content Quality Score: Rating by stakeholders on how engaging the content is perceived
6. Content Relevancy Score:  Rating on how relevant the content and engagement is to forum participant’s needs and preferences
7. Content Timeliness Score: Rating by forum participants on how timely the content and engagement is to forum participants
8. Content Referral Score: Rating by forum participants on how likely they are to refer people to the company forums, initiatives, contests, etc.
9. Brand Quality Score: Rating by stakeholders on how brand perceptions are increasing/decreasing based on their social media interactions
10. Overall Program Quality/Appeal Score: How program participants perceive the quality and appeal of this program relative to all other social media programs they’ve been exposed to and/or interacted with

The top five benefits of measuring these external social media success metrics are as follows:
1)  Allows program participants to feel empowered to provide input into the programs’ design
2)  Enables companies to govern program delivery based on external/objective measures
3)  Enables development of best-in-class social media programs as rated by their constituencies
4)  Facilitates the development of a dynamic, exciting, engaging program
5)  Enables maximized creativity for program interaction and delivery

Top 10 Company Efficiency & Effectiveness Focused/Internal Social Media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
1. Social Media Process Efficiency: Cycle time by which major program components (contests, new offerings, special topics, new forums, etc) are developed, deployed and adapted. This would include meeting critical process excellence Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for sign-off and completion of program materials as part of a social media process excellence model
2. Social Media Engagement Timeliness Score: Cycle time to address stakeholder concerns, comments, sentiment, needs, preferences, etc.
3. Social Media Sentiment Analytic Score: Effectiveness in locating and performing analytics on sentiment trends, issues, critical response items (i.e. product defect early warnings)
4. Social Media Forum Coverage Score: Coverage metrics on how comprehensively analytic platforms are sourcing data from social media forums and how well the company is responding to forum sentiment (both positive and negative) from all applicable forums
5. Social Media Internal Engagement Score: Metrics on how well  internal employees feel engaged with and empowered to act as an effective component in the social media program delivery
6. Brand and Forum Consistency Score: Rating by brand management on how well all of the social media participants are maintaining brand and forum consistency as to engage stakeholders and participants in a highly qualitative and consistent manner
7. Social Converter Score – Metrics on how well the company converts social engagers, social brand detractors and ‘brand interested’ into traditional prospects, brand advocates and brand customers respectively?
8. Social Media Program Value Score: Based on the Social Converter Score as a baseline, what is the current and cumulative value of the social media program and how has it delivered tangible value from a brand perception/value, prospect conversion, or customer (cross-sell, up-sell, higher share of wallet, etc) perspective.
9. Social Media  Service Line Contribution Score: From a service line perspective (Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Product Management, etc), how much has the social media program contributed in terms of sales lead increases, increased marketing reach and customer conversions,  new product ideas (i.e. via Crowd Sourcing), customer service improvement suggestions or actionable feedback, etc.  –Refer to service line specific metrics** below.
10. Overall Program Quality/Appeal Score: How well is the social media program perceived by internal stakeholders and constituencies relative to all other social media program these departments/employees have been exposed to and/or interacted with

The top five benefits of measuring these internal social media success metrics are as follows:
1)  Allows companies to deliver cost-effective social media programs
2)  Enables companies to deliver consistent, repeatable program content
3)  Enables companies to convert social media interactions into prospects, customers and sales for bottom line results
4)  Enables companies to rate the comprehensiveness of their social media program coverage
5)  Enables company employees to feel excited about the program and to be engaged for brand, company and constituency benefit

Now back to the Social Media Program Balanced Scorecard. If we were to weight each of the ten external and internal measures at 10% (or 10 points each) , we would have 100 maximum score for external measures and a 100 maximum score for internal measures.  Here are some example scores and their potential meaning as an example:

External Social Media Score – 100
Internal Social Media Score  – 50 
   or a Balanced Scorecard result of 2 (100/50).
This typically means that stakeholders consider the company’s program to be great, but the company is struggling internally to deliver the program
External Social Media Score – 40
Internal Social Media Score  – 100 
   or a Balanced Scorecard result of .4 (40/80).
This typically means that stakeholders consider the company’s program to be weak, but the company is effective and efficient in its delivery

The bottom line here is the best (balanced) score is when the program has a 1 to 1 ratio or a score of 100 for both external and internal metrics. This mirror effect indicates a well-balanced social media program that is considered world-class by the external program participants, yet is (internally) efficiently and effectively delivered by the company. Obtaining a Social Media Program Balanced Scorecard score of 100, while somewhat demanding, can have a dramatic impact on the ability of your company to increase sales and market share.
The following is a list of other best practices to follow on developing a highly effective social media measurement capability:
1. Monitor success via social media dashboards – Track social media metrics via organizational dashboards for various company levels and functions to ensure everyone has a view into the success of the program
2. Institutionalize the metrics – Ensure that achievement of the metrics identified for social media are tied to departmental and individual performance measures
3. Establish preliminary metric benchmarks – Establish early performance success benchmarks to gauge the success of the program from day one
4. Evolve metrics via continuous improvement – Evolve the metrics each year as to improve year-over-year performance in each metric category.
5. Operationalize the business case – Ensure that a business case is built and maintained for the social media program and ensure corporate stakeholders take ownership for achievement of the projected benefits

** Function Specific Metrics:  Here is a small sample of the service line metrics I establish for my clients in terms of measuring the impact social media has on individual company functions:

1) Sales (sample):
• Social Media Lead Generation Score: Number and value of Sales Leads generated via social media
• Social Media Event Sales Score: Number of company event attendees that are attending the event as a direct result of social media marketing activities
• Social Media Sales Closure Score:  The number of sales closed as a direct result of a social media lead
• Social Media Sales Referral Score:  The number of sales generated as a direct result of a referral from an existing social media participant

2) Marketing (sample):
• Social Media Ad Effectiveness Score: Additional prospects or customers sourced as a direct result of social media advertising
• Social Media Campaign Management Lift: Additional prospects or customers sourced as a direct result of social media campaigns (i.e. direct marketing)
•  Social Media Community Lift: Number of community members acquired over a period of time into company community forums, communities, sites, etc.

3) Customer Service (sample):
• Customer Service Delivery Efficiency Score:  Rating on how effectively customer service is administered via social media venues and forums (internal/external)
• Brand Issue / Concern Resolution Satisfaction & Cycle Time Score: Rating on how responsive customer service is administered on brand specific issues or concerns via social media venues and forums (internally & externally measured)
• Brand Issues / Defect Analytic Score: Rating on how well customer service can develop trend analysis in order to correlate a number of customer service complaints to specific brand and/or product defects and serious issues (manufacturing issues, chemical contamination, safety issues, assembly issues, etc.).  (internally measured)

4) Brands/Products (sample):
• Product Insight & Engagement Score:  Score on the engagement with social media communities to source product ideas, implement feedback and suggestions for improvement and  how well this feedback is incorporated back into the product life-cycle.
• Brand Positive Perception Score (BPPS):  From a brand perspective, how well is each brand regarded from a social media perspective (externally measured)

Questions for Readers of this Blog:
1) What are some of the critical social media measures, metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you use to gauge the success of your company’s social media program?
2) How do you judge a great social media program?
3) What types of impressions do you have (i.e. what are the words come to your mind) of a company that delivers a great social media program?
4) What are some other things companies can do to enhance the measurement of their social media program(s)?

Social Media Pitfalls and Mistakes – the Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Programs

Social Media Pitfalls and Mistakes – the Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Programs

By Steven Jeffes

How Fortune 500 Companies Make Critical Social Media Mistakes and How These Can be Avoided

The following is a synopsis of the seven deadly Social Media Sins that Fortune 500 companies commit when developing & managing social media programs and are detailed in my post below:

1)      Organization & GovernanceDepartmental infighting and inconsistencies cause social media disconnects and customer confusion

2)      Program Measurement: Companies are lulled into a false sense of security by believing they have a great social media program

3)      Policy & Standards:  Companies do more harm than good by being erratic & unpredictable to their customers

4)      Program Process:  Successful delivery of a social media program is not repeatable due to the lack of a process excellence model

5)      Legal & Regulatory Compliance: Social Media Program exposes the company to huge compliance and customer management issues

6)      Human Resource Management (HRM): Human resources misses the opportunity to empower and excite the workforce about social media

7)      Financial Performance: Success of social media is judge via subjective vs. objective and financial performance measures

Remember the dot com days in the 1980’s and early 1990’s when companies furiously scrambled to add an e-channel or internet communications to their list of capabilities and rarely gave a second thought on how to efficiently integrate these capabilities with existing off-line & traditional channels? Remember when ‘just adding something’ and demonstrating any e-channel capability to the public was critical and ‘online’ departments, organizations and functions were added as separate silos within the overall organization? Also remember the effort that went into trying to undo some of the inefficiencies caused by these non-integrated and dichotomous processes, procedures and operations?

Any guess to what is happening today from a Social Media standpoint for many companies? In short, Dejavu is occurring in regard to Social Media and many companies are ignoring the hard lessons that should have been learned during the 80’s. Indeed, many companies are proceeding down the same path without fully considering the correct methodology to use and unfortunately will end up designing programs with the same discontinuities and pitfalls as they did when developing an internet capability.

The following chart is a quick comparison of the companies in the dot com 80’s and the parallel to the development of social media capabilities of today:

Dot Com 1980’s Internet Capability Development

Social Media Capability Development Current Comparison

Adding Capabilities just to show up


Build now/fast, determine how to integrate later


Build functions in silos or with just a few departments


Ad-hoc inter-organizational program governance


Processes and organization not totally optimized


Standards and Policy Developed on the fly


Financial Business Case Not Fully Developed Yes

As part one of a series of blog posts, the following post will provide you with an overview of the seven areas where I have seen my Fortune 500 clients make major mistakes when attempting to develop top-notch social media programs. Following this post, I will address how a best-in-class social media program development methodology I have developed called SMARTE – The Social Media Adaptive/Responsive/Transcendent Enterprise enables companies to avoid many of these pitfalls and mistakes, but rather facilitates the development of a world-class social media program that leads to increased market share, higher brand values and increased customer loyalty.

The seven deadly Social Media Sins – Pitfalls and Mistakes Companies Make in Developing a World-Class Social Media Program:

1)    Social Media Organization & Governance:

One of the largest of the seven deadly social media sins is not determining the optimal way to govern a social media program, including determining who sets social media policy, develops social media standards, develops and/or approves processes, optimizes or aligns the organization, etc. Efficient and optimized social media programs are governed by governing organizations that include a great deal of cross-organizational representation and include legal, finance, marketing, customer service, brand management, human resources, etc.  In this fashion, decisions are made holistically and with insight into all organizational considerations prior to proceeding. Many companies I’ve analyzed commence social media program development with one or a few departments considered and the resulting programs are generally ad-hoc, non-systemic, disjointed and often myopic to their own department’s needs.  Ideally they should be holistically focused on the needs of the entire enterprise.  Some of the specific sins committed for social media organization and governance are as follows:

  • Social Media Programs are governed in silos vs. holistically, systemically, and cross-organizationally.
    • Issue Created: this creates many of the same problems as the issues that were create between the ‘on-line’ vs. ‘off-line’ organizations including discontinuities in customer communications, customer management inconsistencies, etc.
  • Social media program is started with just one or a few departments.
    • Issue Created: When additional departments develop social media capabilities, many times, much re-work needs to be done to standardize the process across departments
  • The Social Media Programs Organization is separated from the Customer Relationship Management Functions: Brand Management, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Shareholder management, etc.
    • Issue Created: Customer management is handled inconsistently across all customer facing departments and functions which leads to customer frustration, confusion and resentment.  
  • Social Media customer intelligence is not integrated and managed as a strategic asset across all departments and organizations including Product Management, Branding, Campaign Management, Customer Experience, Sales.
    • Issue Created: Pockets of social media learnings and opportunities are not operationalized across all departments and functions, leading to many missed improvement opportunities.

2)    Social Media Program Measurement:

  • Social media metrics & Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are not balanced between both internally and externally focused measures
    • Issue Created: By measuring too heavily on internal measures, companies can be lured into a false sense of social media success by believing they are successful when customers do not reflect this sentiment.  Additionally, by focusing too heavily on external measures, companies can be ignoring key internal efficiencies in delivering the social media program, hence driving up the cost of the program unnecessarily.
  • Social Media is treated as a ‘check-box’ and treated as a victory for just showing up vs. measuring sales, marketing, brand value gains
    • Issue Created: A feel good social media program is created and perpetuated where companies pat themselves on the back for just having a social media presence while potentially damaging customer relations (i.e. many programs that do more harm than good in terms of brand reputation). 
  • Social Media performance dashboards are not available for CxO level management to gauge program performance against key measures like brand value, average public sentiment, brand buzz and excitement values, etc.
    • Issue Created: Key issues impacting shareholder and/or stakeholder value are not missed and are not managed to create a positive impact.

3)    Social Media Program Policy & Standards:

  • Standards are not developed to consistently ascertain and respond to the ‘average customer sentiment’
    • Issue Created:  Each social media interaction is handled inconsistently; thus leading customers to perceive the program to be biased, unfair, and/or just poorly managed.
  • Brand consistency is not considered when developing social media programs and customer interaction is highly inconsistent
    • Issue Created: Companies do not present ‘one face to the customer’ and appear inconsistent, disjointed between departments and company’s brand quality is perceived to be highly variable
  • Standards and policy have not been created in terms of managing customer communication protocols: This includes frequency of responses, tone/manner of the responses, handling or rebutting negative brand or company comments, opt-ins/opt-outs, etc.
      • Issue Created: Companies do not present ‘one face to the customer’ and appear inconsistent, disjointed between departments and the company’s brand quality is perceived to be highly variable.

4)    Social Media Program Process:

  • A best practice process and organizational framework has not been fully considered for the social media program
    • Issue Created:  A best practice social media program is not just about technology and applications, but must be equally supported by a robust organizational and process framework. Lacking this structure, the program continually languishes in mediocrity without a governing continuous improvement process framework to evolve the program to world-class status.
  • Acknowledgement of customer brand input is not acknowledged and responded to which translates into a negative customer brand experience
  • Brands feel compelled to respond to every negative comment posted about their brand, products and/or organization
  • Utilizing traditional media tactics for bi-directional and conversational social media venues
    • Issue Created: Social Media interactions appear non-interactive, disingenuous, or canned, which in turn, leads to negative sentiment about the social media program being a corporate ivory tower programs that are perceived to not listen well or interact effectively. 
  • Inability to synthesize and analyze intelligence from across multiple social media venues or not listening to all relevant communities and platforms creates an inability to develop a coherent brand action plan
    • Issue Created: Key social media input and ‘intelligence’ is overlooked, creating many missed opportunities to positively influence brand perceptions, customer loyalty and company product & service quality perceptions. 

5)    Social Media Legal & Regulatory Compliance:

  • Regulatory compliance is or was not part of the overall social media program design such as the following sample regulatory rules that impact social media program design:
    • Financial Services: NASD 3010 and 3110, SEC Rule 17a-4, Gramm-Leach-Bliley.
    • Cross-Industry: Sarbanes Oxley Compliance.
    • Pharmaceutical: Fair Balance Act, Adverse Event Reporting, HIPAA Privacy Rule
  • Developing Social Media programs that assume customer opt-in permission and channel preferences are the same for traditional media
    • Issues Created: Huge customer trust issues are created that negatively impact brand value and company perceptions. Regulatory compliance publicity or fines are also at risk if compliance is not fully considered when designing a world-class social media program.

6)    Social Media Program Human Resource (HR):

  • HR does not tie social media program performance to individual key performance measures
  • Human resources fails to facilitate a sense of excitement about social media and is treated like ‘just another program’
  • Customer sentiment values are not tied to program and individual performance measures
  • Company employees are not encouraged, trained and incentivized to become social media conversation managers, Tweeters, Bloggers, etc  in order to converse with and positively influence constituencies, customers and stakeholders.
    • Issues Created: Employees feel left out and uninspired by the social media program vs. being excited, engaged and empowered to participate/communicate in order to facilitate program success.  

7)    Social Media Program Financial Performance:

  • Business case development for social media is not tied to financial  performance goals
  • Social media optimization tests do not take into account financial performance
  • Program are initiated with strong dose of intuition vs. realistic business cases vs. initiating each program based on ROI, payback periods, net present value discounting, etc.
    • Issues Created: Social Media is success is measured exclusively by highly subjective measures such as customer & program reach, customer sentiment, etc. vs. highly objective and financially driven measures such as sentiment vs. share of wallet, program reach vs. acquisition costs, etc.

Do you have any war stories that you like to share about social media programs that have gone awry? Has your company committed any of the above seven deadly social media sins? Do you have any other perspectives on mistakes companies make in developing and managing an enterprise-wide social media program?

My next series of blogs will be taking you through my SMARTE social media methodology on how to avoid all of the above mistakes in developing and managing an enterprise-wide social media program and will enable your company to develop a social media program that is considered world-class.

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