Going beyond marketing: Why social matters matter to your entire business

.Social is more than just posts, likes and comments. It’s an extension of our world with opportunities for communication, discovery, collaboration and connection. As people and platforms evolve, so should your company’s social approach.

Social media can enhance every aspect of your business. High-performing companies are already expanding their social strategy beyond marketing by involving departments such as customer service, corporate communications, investor relations, product, research and development, and human resources in social decisions. Social media holds the answers to some of your most pressing business questions.

A chart showing which teams marketers believe contribute to their organization's social strategy.  Teams include Customer Service, Corporate Communications, Product, HR and R&D.

Definition of the possibilities of the social

The social media use cases are limitless, but to prioritize based on your business needs, you need a solid understanding of three key social use cases:

Branded

This is the social use case you’re probably most familiar with. Branded Social comes directly from a brand account. This usually manifests itself in posts, comments, or customer support DMs.

Individually

Individual social media usage comes directly from your employees. Your employees can republish branded content or directly target external stakeholders from their personal accounts on behalf of your company.

Revealing

This use case is all about data. People turn to social media to voice their opinions and this information is invaluable to your business. Departments in your organization can use insights from social media to support their decision-making.

Straight from the mouth of the brand

Branded social media content should be the first pillar of your social media strategy. This is your opportunity to showcase your brand voice and get your content out there. Think of this as your official channel of communication – the way you keep your audience informed of the latest and greatest from your organization, manage current events or crisis communications, and effectively answer service-related questions or address concerns.

Most companies have a good handle on their brand accounts. They’re most useful for customer support and marketing, but we’re seeing other departments starting to post in an official capacity as well. Investor relations teams may need to share corporate communications, and HR teams may want to report on relevant job openings. Your PR team can use your official channels to promote media placements. Anything that is best straight from the brand should be posted this way.

The most important thing to remember about branded content is limiting access to branded accounts. Your social media and customer support teams should be the only ones using these accounts.

Individual approach

The chances that your employees have their own social media accounts are pretty high. Harnessing the power of your employees’ social media networks can have an exponential impact on your business. There are two ways your employees can integrate their personal social strategy into your corporate strategy.

The first way is with direct messages. Sales teams can reach out to prospects directly on platforms like LinkedIn — and when they combine that outreach with strategic likes, retweets, or comments, it can be extremely effective. If you have open positions on your team, employees can connect directly with people who might be a good match and build a relationship with them before the interview. This one-to-one approach works because it feels more personal. Prospects and recruits are much more likely to respond to a personalized message from a human than one from a branded account.

The second way is employee advocacy, or encouraging your employees to post company content on their personal social media pages. Their social media team provides ready-made content for employees to share on their personal accounts. Giving your team the tools to talk about your business on their social media accounts can have a tremendous impact on your goals. Your employees also recognize that employee representation can make their jobs easier.

According to our research, employees already believe that social media can help them with brand awareness, social selling, market expansion and internal communication. Giving you methods to share benefits everyone.

A bar chart showing the different percentages of people who believe social selling helps them with brand awareness, social selling, market reinforcement, and internal communication.

become insightful

We all know that Google has the answers to any question we might have. But social media can be just as useful – if not more so. Your customers are already collecting the ideas they need for strategic decisions in social media. You just have to start listening.

Social listening tools allow you to refine concepts and keywords to see what people are already saying. The possibilities for this data are endless.

If you work in research and development, you can gauge sentiment about your existing products—or products your customers want—in minutes. In finance, the answers to questions about demand and prices by region or demographic are waiting for you to find them. If you’re in marketing, you can get real-time feedback on your latest campaigns. If you manage investor relations, you can use social media to share important business information with your investors.

Social media intelligence is priceless and becomes non-negotiable as companies become more sophisticated.

Preparing for the next social phase

With the proliferation of social media, leaders need to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, social media is a skill. That hasn’t changed. But as the field matures, it quickly becomes a skill everyone needs. When you start incorporating social media into your entire business, don’t assume that everyone will get it right away. Training and education on social media must be widely available and encouraged.

Leaders also need to define the roles of their social media teams. As more departments begin to integrate social media into their roles, you need someone to bring it all together. Social media managers are important members of your team, but they cannot be expected to lead social efforts across the organization. Finally, you need a role to tie it all together, such as a Chief Social Officer, who understands social media and your business goals. This person can act as a bridge between departments and manage your overall social strategy.

Social media is the best tool to optimize your business. You just have to use it.

Want to learn more about the future of social media? Check out the 2022 Sprout Social Index™ where we dive into the data behind the trends.

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