How to elevate social media to the boardroom continued

In part 1 of this blog, I explained how we can elevate social media to the boardroom by making it more strategic and the techniques you can use to demonstrate clear business impact. To successfully get stakeholder buy-in you need to put a strong case forward – and this is something a lot of businesses struggle to put into articulate with social.

It’s easy to say it’ll provide customers with an alternative route for customer service queries or that it could help to drive additional sales, but you will need to present some cold, hard numbers if your proposals are to be considered.

Previously, we looked at how to use social media to create a 360 degree view of your customer, and why it’s essential to align your activity with core business objectives. In this blog I’ll show you how to define important processes and KPI’s around social, and how to remove internal cultural barriers that are holding back your digital projects.

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Define roles and responsibilities

The use of social media is still fairly new in some organisations, and therefore the processes around it can be unclear. The most common evolution of social within an organisation starts with it being managed ad hoc by someone in the marketing or comms team – usually for fifteen minutes at the end of the day or “when they get chance”. If you are to leverage maximum benefit from social media then it needs to be formalised and treated like any other comms channel.  

If you’re using social media for customer service, then when a specialist enquiry is passed from your central comms team to another department, it cannot afford to fall into a “black hole” where you might eventually get a response…at some point. You will need to set SLA’s around when you can expect to receive a response from that department. Better still would be to have a designated “social media champion” in each department who will report back to you with the information – or as we see in the most socially-savvy organisations, the “social champion” can directly respond back to the customer on behalf of their department – making it a truly social process.

Part of a wider digital transformation

Changing archaic organisational structures and processes to meet new trends and technologies is one of the biggest challenges facing business leaders. Successfully embedding social media into an organisation will not happen if there is not a culture that embraces change and new approaches. That means building out your business based around mobile, social, cloud and analytics. Culture and investment were recently identified as the two main barriers to digital transformation in the UK public sector, but we also see this in the private sector too.

If you’ve made the decision to make social media a key customer service channel going forward, then you need to adequately resource so that your customers receive a great first experience on this channel and use it again and again. One-on-one conversations are how you create powerful experiences on social – the essence of relevance and being human. But in marcomms, one-on-one conversations at scale are costly and impractical. This is where paid social can help. At a time of changing algorithms, when social has become “pay to play”, the opportunity to connect at scale with a defined, relevant segment of your audience is now very real – but it requires budget. It’s strategy and not technology that drives digital transformation, so identify and remove your internal barriers – because companies that do not innovate and avoid risk-taking are unlikely to thrive. It’s also essential for recruitment, your most talented employees want to work for businesses committed to digital progress.

The very best new businesses are built around adaptability, sharing of information and data-driven decisions. So start small when testing new approaches, achieve some quick wins and build a business case to take to the board for future investment. In an age of accelerated evolution, many leading brands have already moved on from mobile-first to social-first – creating clear audience segments based on deep insights and crafting contextualised content for them – but to bring us back to my opening point, only if you audience is there.

About the Writer:ben
Ben Nimmo is the Founder and CTO of SocialSignIn. A serial entrepreneur with a history of successful tech start-ups, Ben is passionate about finding new ways for businesses to harness the power of digital technology to deliver world class marketing and customer service.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn click here or follow him on Twitter @benjaminnimmo