In 2011, Cox media group posted a job opening for a Social Monetization Manager. The ad sought a professional with a “blend of digital media savvy, social media knowledge, and first-hand sales experience.” Someone who would “work across the entire organization to support both local sales teams and corporate strategy work.”
Since then, job postings looking for a Social Media Manager have spiked more than 1,000%. Social Media Manager, Social Monetization Manager, Social Community Manager – dozens of titles and a myriad of responsibilities continue to evolve. And while the budgets don’t exactly keep pace with the growth in positions, an increasingly larger percentage of brands’ overall marketing budgets is earmarked specifically for social media. In fact, by 2025, companies will spend 16 – 25% of their marketing budgets on social, according to a CMO Survey.
What’s surprising isn’t the growth of roles and budgets—there’s clearly a growing awareness of the importance social media plays in an integrated marketing strategy—but the fact that social media is still on defense, particularly to small and mid-market brands.
The problem isn’t metrics. It’s inequity.
Remember this scene from Jerry Maguire?
One of the biggest obstacles brands face in delivering real ROI for social media efforts has less to do with budgets than it does with a lack of collaboration from the rest of the organization.
No department works alone; the accounting team needs budget and billing information from other departments, the sales team needs collateral from marketing, the marketing team needs input from sales, customer service relies on information from logistics, sales, and accounting. In the same way, social media needs input from all of these teams in order to succeed.
Viewing the social team as tactical vs. strategic can hold every department back from the benefits social media affords. For the love of social, here are actionable ways every department within your organization can help ensure you get the most bang for your social media buck.
The marketing department is home base for social media, and in 2021 social plays a starring role (thanks, COVID). But while social media is the most popular place to be online for consumers, it’s also the most challenging for brands. That may be because marketers still see social media as a one-way communication tool for blasting sales and promotional content at an audience rather than a two-way communication vehicle that helps you understand your audience, engage in meaningful dialogue, and guide consumers and buyers along the path to purchase.
For the Love of Social: Loop the social team in on upcoming VIP events, trade shows, sales and industry conferences, etc. so that instead of posting a picture from a conference that happened last week, they can promote the event before it happens to generate excitement and encourage attendance. Then, plan to be on site to live tweet and capture photos and videos in real-time. Set up regular ‘dream team meetings’ that include a designer, a writer, a strategist, and a social media manager who can help brainstorm visuals, messaging, and formats that will drive the highest engagements.
Measure the Love: Measure follower growth, impressions, engagements, reviews.
Great sales professionals aren’t pushy salespeople, they’re relationship builders. Same with social media. It’s not a tool for pushing sales, it’s a tool for building trust. But it would be a mistake to think social media is strictly a top-of-funnel platform. Nearly 90% of e-commerce shoppers say social media helps them make buying decisions. And now that platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook have a shop feature, it’s easier than ever to convert leads into revenue.
For the Love of Social: Work with social media to run ads that align with their efforts. The sales materials you use might be better suited in a different format for specific platforms: Turn a sales brochure into an animated image or carousel ad. Create custom visuals and videos of product shots. Give virtual showroom tours and product demonstrations.
Measure the Love: Measure clicks, page views, downloads, mentions, free trials, Bookmarks/saves, appointments, and purchases.
Managing recruitment and retention efforts is a traditional HR function, but the platforms, technologies, and tools we now use streamline the process and make folding in department heads fairly seamless. HR works with management to fill open positions for each team, but simply asking the social team to “post” a job description is an outdated tactic.
For the Love of Social: Leverage the sheer scale of social media platforms to increase visibility by looping in the social media team earlier in the process. This way, the teams can discuss unique formats for job postings and how those listings might look different on various platforms. Brainstorm ideas that promote your brand, from talent branding on LinkedIn to highlighting your company’s culture on Facebook and responding to reviews on Glassdoor.
Measure the Love: Measure mentions, employee reviews, followers of your LinkedIn jobs page, and the increase in number of applications for each open position.
Customer Experience (CX) has transformed the customer service team from headset-wearing reps to omni-channel brand representatives (thanks, social!). Today, eight in 10 consumersuse social to engage with brands, and 54% of customers prefer social media for customer service over phone or email. That’s good news for brand budgets: Solving an issue on social media is 83% cheaperthan resolving it through a call center interaction.
For the Love of Social: Beyond responding to customer questions, comments, and complaints, pay attention: What are the most common questions, concerns, and grievances you hear from customers? Which products have the highest return rate? This is the type of information that’s helpful for your social media team because it lets them know which content topics are most important to your audience. A social media dashboard like Sprout Social allows teams to monitor reviews and comments, assign responses to specific team members, and follow up to ensure quick response times. More than half (60%) of customers who complain on social media expect a response within one hour. Not responding can lead to a 15% increase in churn rate, but answering complaints quickly and respectfully increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%.
Measure the Love: Measure sentiment, engagement, changes in reviews post-response, referrals, and repeat purchases.
According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, Business has replaced government as the most trusted institution, and that’s putting a new demand on CEOs. In fact, 80% of people say they want CEOs to speak out on important social issues. As business leaders, your employees, customers, social audiences, and communities look to you to provide relevant, timely information. If you’ve not been active on social media, now is the time.
For the Love of Social: Treat social media as an equally important component of your organization and you’ll encourage department leaders and employees to do the same. Make sure your social team has access to your trusted industry publications and resources so that they can keep a pulse on the industry, your competitors, and the latest trends. Work with your social team to create not only brand content, but leadership content that you can share from your professional profile on LinkedIn and other platforms. Sharing your company’s content via your LinkedIn profile with a personal note or anecdote encourages team members to do the same and will help build trust and grow your company page, as well.
Measure the Love: Measure engagement, mentions, and growth in connections and followers.
Social media isn’t simply a vehicle for pushing out messages from sales and PR; it never was. How many times have you heard (or said), “put this on Facebook” or “share this on Instagram”? Social media is not the intern’s role, or a starting point for marketers. We have to give these pros their due, and that requires including them in the ideation process of every project and every campaign. The return on your company’s social media investment has the potential to skyrocket if all the players in your organization start to see social media as the transformational platform it is.
Could your brand use the power of an award-winning social media team behind the scenes? Learn how to OPTIMATE your brand’s social media presence here.