Move towards becoming a social-led business

Trends in social may change, but one thing that we know for certain is that social media is a two-way street. It’s as much about listening as it is about sharing.

Sprout Social recently released the insights of their 2019 Index (you can see our take on this here). These results come from a survey of over 1000 social marketers and 1000 consumers, and serve up a snapshot of the social landscape as it sits today. 

For the most part there were no big surprises. However there were some telling stats that suggested to us that many businesses still don’t realise the significant part that social can play in their success - if they just pay attention. 

Become a business who listens

Most social marketers would say that listening is already a big part of their job. They have analytics serving up immeasurable amounts of data that can provide them with insights around trends, product research, competitor insights and brand sentiment research.

But looking at and understanding data is one thing, and using it to strategically inform initiatives within the wider organisation is another. While 71% of social marketers believe they can offer helpful insights from social to teams outside of the marketing department, six out of 10 still wish they had more influence on their sales team, while 28% said the same about people/human resources.

This lack of influence isn’t surprising. As social remains undervalued, it also remains under-resourced. Most social marketers don’t have the time and capacity to really dig into the parts of their role that could provide real value to the wider organisation. In fact, 59% of social marketers say that the thing holding them back from strategic work is time, and 46% of them wish they could spend more time developing strategy instead of working on tactical execution. 

Siloed social teams

Sadly, it seems that few brands are taking full advantage of the insight that social has to offer, with 39% of marketers struggling to demonstrate the value of social to the rest of their organisation, and nearly half (47%) saying that developing a strategy that supports their organisation’s goals is the number one challenge they face.

A big part of the issue is that so often, social marketing teams remain siloed - both within marketing teams, and within the organisation as a whole. 

And yet, as we know, social marketers are the ones with direct access to consumer data that can provide influential guidance to other departments. After all, social marketers are the ones listening to, and engaging with, a brand’s audience ‘on the ground’. 

For the most part, businesses are not applying social insights to non-marketing initiatives. And yet the insights you have access to through your social channels are diverse and can be used to inform business-wide initiatives that go beyond just raising awareness and promotions.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for the insights gleaned from social listening tools to inspire product development, go-to-market sales campaigns and marketing initiatives, instead of the other way around?

Get some buy-in

The onus is on social marketers to demonstrate just how valuable social really is, and get buy-in to flip an organisation on its head to become social-led in its approach. 

For practitioners especially, this means showing how social insights support the entire organisation - before other departments think to ask for social data.

It starts by sharing data in a way that demonstrates how social is supporting overall business goals. Because if it’s not clear to other departments how social relates to their own outcomes, they’ll continue to view social as simply an add-on to the marketing team. 

Get insights and reports in front of the right people and help your colleagues understand the role that social marketing can play in their own success. 

By taking ownership of this kind of collaboration, you can start to influence the DNA of your organisation, whereby it can begin to recognise and understand that campaign success starts by listening to their audience first.

Not all businesses will have the internal resource to start and manage this shift, so for many, outsourcing their social media management could be the best way to make a move towards being social-led. We’ll take a look at how social media outsourcing could work for your business in an upcoming blog. Stay tuned!