3 Steps to Win More Investment in Social Media for Business

Graham Forsyth

Editor’s note: For the final post in a three-part customer engagement series, we close the loop to emphasize the fundamental importance of a social media strategy that encompasses the whole business. We spoke with Guntram Kopp, Managing Director of Germany-based advertising agency EIGHTYDOTS and their Social Media Team Lead, Laura Perez.

To view another part of this series, click below:

Who’s responsible for your social media strategy? Chances are, content planning and delivery sits squarely with your marketing team. There’s also a reasonable likelihood that the words “digital transformation” have been heard in your halls over the past few years. But it’s increasingly clear that a complete evolution can’t take place until digital is fully embedded throughout the organization — and that means expanding the use of social media to multiple business functions.

“Of course social media strategy sits with marketing,” says Kopp. “The teams we work with provide depth and breadth of relevance, digging into local insight and trending topics. They go way beyond the product to look at the full brand perception — what is it about, what does it stand for? — and create awareness.”

But for social media strategy to achieve those common goals effectively, it should connect seamlessly to different areas of the business. Perez explains: “Social media can be the first point of contact for a customer. But if, for example, the in-store team has no contact with social media managers, and a customer has two massively contrasting experiences, then the brand could miss out on the chance to deliver 100% satisfaction across all touchpoints.”

After all, there’s no point building best-in-class customer care through social media if the rest of the organization could undermine it. Yes, outbound marketing is the part of the business that communicates directly to pre-sale consumers most often. But those same consumers can come into contact with plenty of other teams in the pre-sale, support, and customer relationship management (CRM) processes — and then take the progress or outcomes of those experiences back onto social media. So those teams also need to be invested in social media success, both for what it can do for their special interests and because of the impact it can have on the wider business.

This will require a bit of an internal sales job, but fear not: There’s no task too tall for the leadership involved in attracting and retaining customers. Not every marketing lead is necessarily set up for success, but a strategic approach to winning over the wider business can reap lasting rewards. Here is the three step approach that Kopp and Perez recommend:

1. Set the right goals

Every marketer has had lengthy conversations about proving ROI for social media. Part of gaining buy-in for social media activities is setting robust and clearly understood objectives and KPIs. A key part of building the case for broader social media integration is making sure you’re tracking the kind of data that will appeal to other teams. So think beyond advertising and marketing.

“Are you benchmarking customer satisfaction?” asks Kopp. “Are you tracking your contribution to the conversion process? Our automotive clients, for example, should be seeing how social media is increasing test drive appointments. Is your team set up to capture insight about customer demands and requirements?”

Once you have information that’s useful for teams beyond your own, it’s a lot easier to convince them to come on board.

2. Have the right conversations

“If you’re selling the importance of social media to a head of marketing, you have to identify which topics are the most relevant for him: is it brand awareness and increasing relevance, or conversion rates and the bottom line?” points out Perez. “And when you take your case to other teams, appeal to their interests: product feedback, retail experiences, aftersales demands, and so on.”

Essentially, you catch more flies with relevance. It sounds obvious — but it’s all too easily forgotten when a marketer is working in an environment that still thinks very much in silos. To learn how you can break down these silos, read our whitepaper.

3. Turn heads at the top

A recent McKinsey survey suggested conditions for success can be strongly affected by the positioning of the CMO. As the marketer with the direct line to the rest of the C-suite, a strong networker — what McKinsey calls a “unifier” — can often achieve what someone with great ideas but limited influence cannot. Ultimately, a full-scale digital transformation has to be top-down, so it will certainly make the process smoother if everyone on the board is, well, onboard.

That’s why it’s vital for the CMO to have data at their fingertips to verifiably show the effect social media could have, and is already having, on other disciplines. McKinsey identified a “loner” CMO (someone with few allies at the top, only consulted on marketing communications), as someone likely to be driving activities like social media, but struggling to demonstrate impact in an influential way. When that’s the case, it’s even more important to amass information that will start building bridges and moving marketing to a more central and trusted position.

And the best part? Once your whole organization is positively plugged into social media, it becomes easier and more efficient to create that authentic content and develop that all-important customer care. A virtuous circle, with social media at the heart.

Want to arm yourself with more data to show the business value of social media? Download our whitepaper: Social Media Pocket Guide.

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