Is everyone supporting social media at your company?
Are you struggling to get the support you need?
And although there are many reasons why social media campaigns fail, far and away one of the biggest reasons for failure is the lack of top-to-bottom “buy-in” from all employees in a company.
In some cases, the CEO thinks the idea is frivolous.
In others, management has their doubts.
And in a large majority of companies, employees have no understanding of what social media is, what it does and how they can play a role in its success.
This, my friends, must change.
The Time for Complete Buy-In Is Now
The time has come for companies big and small to achieve complete social media buy-in from ALL employees.
The days of, “Yeah, we let the marketing department (assuming there is one) handle that stuff and we just do what we do,” must come to a close.
In fact, if I had a dollar for every head of marketing who has approached me in the last few years and said, “Hi, I just can’t seem to get anyone else in the company to buy into social media and assist me in my efforts,” I’d be a rich man.
So again, to say this is a problem would be an understatement.
Whether it’s an army of 1 or 1,000, when all members of a team share the same vision of success, amazing things can happen. Look no further than the business example of Apple to see exactly what I’m talking about here.
Just as Steve Jobs helped his entire company, plus the world, to catch the Apple vision, so too must businesses small and large look to help their employees have a unified social media vision.
So that’s what this article is all about. We’re going to discuss 5 actions any company, large or small, can take to achieve this social media buy-in. And once we’re done, I can’t wait to hear your further thoughts and ideas below.
5 Ideas for Achieving Complete Social Media Buy-In From All Employees
#1: Someone Must Take the Lead
Every great project calls for a great leader. And if you want your company to dominate in social media, someone is going to have to take the reins.
No, this does not mean all responsibilities fall on one person’s shoulders; rather, the person is a coordinator, a motivator and a filter for all of the company’s core content and social media.
The position we’re talking about here is sometimes referred to as a CCO (chief content officer) or a CMO (chief marketing officer), but when it comes down to it, the name doesn’t matter as much as the activities performed by that person. (Note: Even if your business is a one-man show, you still need to embrace the mentality of a CMO.)
Not too long ago, the position of chief content officer didn't even exist. Today, industry leaders like Ann Handley, CCO of MarketingProfs, are becoming household names.
When it comes to true social media success, one thing is certain—if a company’s social media marketing is left up to chance and the unguided efforts of many, it will undoubtedly fail.
#2: Educate Via an Event
In so many cases, the manner in which a CMO or CCO establishes a social media campaign is incredibly lackluster and ineffective. Here are some examples of what not to do:
Send out a sudden mass email to all company employees asking them to write blog articles.
Notify staff of the company’s new Facebook page and suggest they Like it.
The reason for this is very simple: The majority of company employees, no matter the industry, do not understand the power and potential of social media. Blogs make little sense to them. Search engine optimization and its benefits are completely foreign. YouTube is something their kids do for fun. The list goes on and on.
This is why I strongly suggest that when a company decides to start a serious social media campaign—whether it’s via Facebook, Twitter, blogging, video, etc.—that they bring as many staff together as possible for a company “social media summit.”
There is a magic that can occur when a company meets together to fully lay out there social media goals and vision, as everyone can then start off on the same page.
During this summit, the first half of the event is really meant for education. This is where all employees can become familiar with types of social media, the potential power of these platforms, how content marketing works, etc.
Once employees understand how social media can impact the company by increasing sales, revenue and customer satisfaction (thus discovering the “why”), we can now move to phase 2 of this important summit.
#3: Encourage Employee Action
The next step of this summit is to implement an action plan of how each person in the company can make a difference. There are many examples of this, but I’ll just demonstrate one here.
When I taught at a recent social media summit for a company in Jinja, the CMO and I decided content marketing (blogging) would be the main emphasis of their social media marketing efforts. To make this happen, we brainstormed as a group (about 5 people in this case) the common questions received each day from prospects and customers. Within 30 minutes and after much participation and enthusiasm from the entire group, we had well over 100 common questions.
Later on, the CMO turned each one of these questions into the title of a blog post, and assigned each article to different employees, with corresponding due dates for each.
Now that everyone in the company understood the power and importance of content marketing, each accepted his or her role in producing the assigned article. And because there were so many employees who were now willing to take part in this activity, it was easy for this company to produce multiple blog articles a week, all without putting too much burden on the shoulders of the CMO/CCO.
This example is powerful because before the summit, the CMO had been struggling for about a year to get other employees involved with the company’s social media efforts. But now that all were brought together in a manner that not only educated but also involved all parties, the reaction to “We need your help” was completely different.
Talking about social media is one thing, but merging the brain power of everyone in an organization is truly special. Synergy Works.
#4: Create a Company Social Media Newsletter
As with every movement, a great launch like a company social media summit is not enough to sustain the long-term practices necessary for social media success.
For this reason, I strongly urge all chief content and marketing officers to send out a regular newsletter to all employees explaining the results of their social media efforts.
Examples of things to include in this type of newsletter:
Special mentions of excellent blog articles and the employees who wrote them
Increase in the number of website visitors due to social media/blogging efforts
Leads and sales that were a direct result of social media campaigns
Positive customer testimonials/comments referencing blog posts, videos, etc.
Examples of how specific pieces of content led to a sale that otherwise likely would not have occurred
Question and feedback opportunities for the employees
As you can see, the amount of information that can be included in a newsletter like this is significant, but the importance of such a tool cannot be emphasized enough. Constant awareness is key to building long-term momentum with any marketing campaign, and by increasing this awareness, the process of making social media part of a company culture can then become a reality for any business.
Launching your social media campaign is only the beginning, but if everyone is going to work together on this, a newsletter of some type will be imperative going forward to keep everyone sharing the initial vision.
#5: Continue Training and Education
Nothing is developing more rapidly in this world than the Internet and social media. What was yesterday’s MySpace is today’s Facebook, so staying up to date and educated is necessary for long-term success.
Just as the newsletter helps employees to see the fruits of their labors, ongoing education with respect to social media marketing allows for continual improvements, innovations and ideas to come from staff members.
For example, because video marketing is becoming increasingly necessary going forward, it’s a great idea to train all employees in the basics of producing video. Once they have this knowledge and understand how to look for content opportunities, they can then start producing product- and service-related videos that can have a major impact on the company’s brand and web presence. And the more employees who jump in, the greater the results will be.
Just because someone on your staff might not have certain skills today to help with your social media efforts doesn't mean they won't excel in that area at some point with a little bit of guidance and training.
So there are 5 suggestions for helping achieve complete social media buy-in with any organization. This being said, I know there are many other ways by which companies can establish such a social media culture. As always, we’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section below. Also, if you’ve tried any of the above steps in the past, what has been your experience? What did you do well and what would you have done differently?
What do you think? Jump in, folks. Your thoughts and questions matter