Bring your Stakeholders with you on Your Social Media Journey
You risk failure and irrelevance if you do not closely align social media objectives with the rest of the business. Social cannot afford to live in a silo. In the third post my last post, I looked at how to pin your measurement strategy to the wider business objectives. But the process of alignment is ongoing. You must remain in lock-step with all stakeholders - Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, PR, Legal, etc, taking them on the social media journey with you.
In this post I'll look at some of the mechanisms and strategies you can use to ensure your social media strategy and tactics are - and are seen to be - essential to the success of the business.
One of the reasons you need to keep close to your stakeholders is BUDGET. As you build your Social Media Operation, you will want to scale it across the organisation. Year by year you will need to justify the increasing investment being made in social. You will want to operationalise and automate certain aspects, which means you will need more sophisticated tools. Finally you'll need a social advertising war chest for sponsored social content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like. But everyone wants more budget! How will you make sure you win the argument?
Also, while the entire business is asking for more budget, the CFO is under pressure to cut costs. Either to accommodate budget increases in another part of the business, or to adapt to a changing economic environment, there will inevitably be budget cuts from time to time. How will you demonstrate the ROI your Social Media efforts provide and defend your budget against these cuts?
Previously I've talked about how you must align with your stakeholders from the very beginning. A crucial point in this post was how your social strategy design process must be INCLUSIVE of all your stakeholder departments and their objectives/challenges. Here are some of the ways you will ensure you continue to gain their buy-in and support:
Include all your stakeholders in the social media strategy design and incorporate their views as you adapt that strategy. Social needs to be aligned to their business objectives.
Understand everyone’s strategic aims and how you can help advance them.
Schedule regular meetings (monthly) with them as part of that Co-ordination Committee we also discussed in that first post.
Include metrics in your measurement dashboard that reflects your impact on their objectives and report improvement in those metrics to them on a regular basis.
Extend permissions from your Social Media tools to stakeholder teams to streamline collaboration, E.G: Customer Service for complaint resolution workflow, PR for Influencer Engagement and Marketing for content approvals etc.
Share wins with them, designed specifically to demonstrate the engagement you are achieving with their target audience.
Regularly ask them for content ideas to show you are receptive to their contributions.
- Establish formal Review sessions - perhaps quarterly - to analyse performance with your stakeholders and agree how you will adapt and optimise your activities to deliver yet more impact.
Remember it isn't enough just to show them how successful you are being, but you must also explain why. The more they understand about why you are achieving the results you are, the more likely they are to provide their help and support.
Much of the education campaign you conduct is quantitative based on your measurement efforts. But it also can be qualitative - so collect examples of social success so you can lace all of your presentations with anecdotes to illustrate how you are achieving your results. This helps educate on what makes social media so powerful and brings a human perspective to the process. Your stakeholders are far more likely to feel an emotional link to what you are doing and are more likely to support you as you strive to support them.