The Marketing Cloud Social Scorecard allows companies to benchmark their social media efforts against the Marketing Cloud Maturity Model across nine important categories. We’ll review the stages of each category one post at a time.

Senior leaders are responsible for the vision of a company. Their level of understanding of social media sets the tone for how it will roll out and scale across an organization. The following four stages track social media maturity against senior executives’ awareness and activity. In his Dreamforce conversation, General Colin Powell stressed the importance of this awareness. “I think any leader has to have his or her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the information revolution.”

Early Stage

Very often, social media begins at a grass roots level within a company. Someone in marketing, PR or corporate communications understands the value of social media to the company and creates a Twitter profile, a Facebook page or even a blog. Sometimes this may be done under the radar by focusing on a discrete event or a specific product. Regardless of where it starts, these pockets of activity are unconnected, and sometimes unauthorized.

Every day your senior leaders can’t pick up a magazine, go to a website or turn on the TV without someone telling them that social media is changing business (and our society in general). In this early stage of maturity, they may not even be aware of the company’s social media activities, or they may begin to show interest in it. Others throughout the company question the value of social media to the business, and it is your job, if you are the one who started the efforts, to explain that value if you wish to progress beyond this stage.

Supportive

As companies expand their social media presences, senior leadership becomes more supportive of these efforts. One of the best ways to bring executives on board is to establish social media goals that align with business goals. What does your CMO care about? What are her metrics of success across the marketing organization? Make sure your social media program aligns with those objectives. Did you get to 1 million people liking your Facebook? That’s great, but make sure you can show that it provides value to the company?

It is critical for this stage that the company be able to prove the value of social media. Budget and resources are provided to expand the program, but it is not an open-ended endeavor. This is not a blank check category, but one where a bit of skepticism remains. Show your senior leadership the daily value you get from social media. Are you keeping up with influencers and competitors? Are you alerted to potential supply problems before your logistics team? Are you starting to build thought leadership for the company? All of these activities have value that can be measured in ways your executives can understand.

Engaged

Senior leaders become more engaged in social media activities when they continue to see the results. This goes well beyond any single campaign to the level where social media is spreading beyond marketing, PR and even customer service. Companies like Zappos have extended their company culture beyond their own walls and given all employees the training, guidance and encouragement to connect with customers on social media. This type of program has to originate from the highest levels of the organization, but it is the responsibility of the social media leaders to sell this idea up.

While many companies still block social media use at work, mature companies are leveraging their employees social networks for business benefit. If your employees are well-connected in your industry and to your customers and to your future customers, doesn’t it make sense to let them have relevant and public business conversations about things that are important? This is how relationships are built. Leaders in this stage understand that employees represent the company on a daily basis on the phone, through email, and in public at trade shows and conferences. Social media is just an extension of that. And remember, this is not meant to open the door on chaos. This is to be managed with proper training, policies, and procedures.

Passionate

It is one thing for senior leaders to encourage social media activities, but it is another for them to be active on social platforms themselves. It really changes how they approach social media. This doesn’t mean creating a Twitter account for the CEO and having the PR team tweet for him, or just asking him to share press releases. It means they are truly part of the social experience, connecting with other executives, sharing information about the company and the industry, and expressing their informed opinion. Leaders at your company are leaders in your industry and social media helps them promote their own thought leadership, and the company’s as well. Here’s a good guide for preparing your chief executives for Twitter so they don’t embarrass themselves.

Some senior leaders who have embraced social media to share personal and company updates, as well interesting articles shared by others, are Michael Dell, CEO of Dell, Beth Comstock, CMO of GE, and Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology & Strategy Officer of Cisco. These are companies that have been incorporating social media across their organizations, and it would not have happened to the extent that it has without a high level of executive support.

The attitude of leadership is just one component of the Marketing Cloud Social Maturity Model. Answer 10 simple questions to see how your company ranks across all of the categories.