An evaluation of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s online social media strategy using the balanced scorecard.
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This study analyses the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) online social media (OSM) strategy to determine how it is manifested, its effectiveness and whether the strategy is achieving its stated objectives. This analysis will provide an understanding of UKZN’s strategic intent in using the OSM platform. The effectiveness of UKZN’s OSM strategy from an external or student users’ perspective and an internal or university’s perspective was also investigated. The main OSM sites targeted in this study were Facebook and Twitter. The non-profit Balanced Scorecard framework proposed by Kaplan was the foundation of this study (Kaplan, 2010). This evaluation framework provides steps which can capture and measure the success of an organization’s OSM strategy from a non-profit perspective. While the literature points to studies analysing the OSM strategy of museums, the analysis of the OSM strategy of universities have not been studied in detail. This study is part descriptive and part interpretive. The research adopts a mixed methods approach using both quantitative and qualitative methods. A survey of UKZN students which detailed their experiences and use of the official and unofficial OSM accounts of UKZN was undertaken. Semi-structured interviews of key people who work on UKZN’s OSM accounts, detailing their use of this platform from an internal perspective was also carried out. The main findings showed that UKZN was not effectively communicating and engaging with students via UKZN’s OSM accounts. The OSM strategy is part of the overall strategy of the University, but this strategy does not outline objectives, policies, governance, organisational structure and internal processes related to the OSM platform. The general objectives which are part of UKZN’s strategic plan cannot effectively leverage OSM. There needs to be a specific OSM strategy which outlines objectives for this platform, how UKZN will achieve these objectives and measures to determine if these objectives have been achieved or not. Findings also showed that in some aspects students felt that the unofficial OSM accounts of UKZN were better when compared to UKZN’s official OSM accounts. This study also revealed a low level of engagement on UKZN’s OSM accounts relative to the size of its OSM community