While we’ve seen a massive increase of companies adopting social media marketing into their overall company strategy, I’m still seeing executives struggle with investing in social. This leaves marketing teams frustrated and slows the growth of the brand.
I’m not going to point fingers at who’s at fault (actually I am) but I’m gonna point fingers (see?). This is on the marketing team.
So quit complaining that the C-level doesn’t get it and listen up.
First things first.
Here is why your executive team is hesitant with social media:
- It’s a foreign land and that scares the heck out of them.
- They see their peers crushing it at social media with their business but also see the marketing dollars they spend which they can’t wrap their head around.
- While it’s all the rage, they have to see how it helps the business. If they don’t see that, they won’t buy in.
So what the heck?! What now?
Of all the companies and brands that I’ve worked with I’ve seen this over and over again.
Marketing teams get frustrated because they can’t grow their social program.
Executives are bummed because they want to ‘do all the fancy social media’s’ (direct quote from unnamed executive) but are afraid.
Before we dive in to how to overcome this struggle, I want you to know:
- I’ve been there.
- I get you.
- There’s a way to overcome this.
Here are three things you can do to get the executive team to buy in to investing more into social media.
- Activate Internal Social Media Advocates at Your Company
Here’s what I mean. The executive team has to manage the needs for all arms of the business. They hear from all the senior managers, directors, and leaders. All of them.
First off, have a little empathy with the executive team because their plate is full. While marketers like to think marketing is the most important arm of the business, other departments think they are just as important.
Second off, stop trying to bang on their door repeatedly. Let others do the convincing for you.
What you need to do is serve all the other arms of the business.
- If HR has a job listing they need help promoting, offer to push on social media.
- If HR wants to feature an employee to show off the culture of the company, offer to do a little video that you can put on the company Linkedin page.
- If the product team needs help gaining insights from customers, offer to help coordinate focus groups and interviews to help them.
- If customer service wants to partner around helping customers cross-channel, do it.
Serve every department the best you can with what you have.
You’ll create an incredible amount of trust and soon enough, everyone will be talking about projects that they are working on with marketing.
See how that works?
Partner and serve other departments.
Everyone will go to bat for you when it matters.
The executive team will be knocking on your door, rather than you constantly bugging them for more buy in.
2. Internal Bi-Weekly Email Marketing Newsletter
Oh yay! Another email no one needs! No…they need this one. Believe me.
Here’s what you’re going to do.
First off, this email is going to go to everyone. And I mean everyone. If you do it right no one will complain. If people do complain and ask to be removed, try to win them over with flowers or ask them to give you another month to win them over.
The Format of the email.
Introduction: It will go something like,
Hi everyone, this is our bi-weekly email to update you on the wins, insights, and takeaways of what’s happening in marketing. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.
You want this broken up in three sections. Why three? Because three is a magical number of balance and happiness. Two is too few and four is like a freaking novel no one wants to read.
In each section make sure to have a screenshot and a link for people to see the THING you’re talking about.
First section: Start with a win. Share something that happened in the previous few works that worked really well or a love note from a customer that came through social. Share how well a campaign did and why it did well and what marketing is going to do about it.
The biggest mistake I see marketing teams make is they see a win and they don’t share it. They think it’s too small or insignificant and keep it to themselves.
Second section: Share an insight. What are you learning in marketing about your customer? What challenges are ahead and what are you doing to overcome them? What isn’t working and what are you doing to change that?
Be real. Be open. But offer a solution. Don’t just say, ‘our campaign last month was terrible, so that sucked’.
Third section: Share a takeaway. What conversations are happening in marketing on how you’re changing creative or testing something new? What learnings do you have to share with everyone else?
In each section make sure to call out other departments on what you’re partnering with them on.
The other department will be like, ‘wow thanks, I freaking love marketing!’ and you’ll be like, ‘Heck yes, we love you too fellow professional!’.
The best way to approach this email is have marketing run the email, but make sure to include others. You’re basically hosting a really fun party but making sure everyone else feels welcome.
Don’t just make it about marketing but how marketing is partnering with other departments.
See how that’s less sleezy and more likeable?
Conclusion: End with a brief wrap up and a survey for people to fill out. Yes. Duh, you’re in marketing. Of course you’re going to survey people.
Funny thing is? People will actually fill out the survey. Seriously they will, you’ll be surprised. And you don’t have to bribe them with Starbucks gift cards either.
The survey will ask them about the content you just shared with them. You’ll ask them to rank how important each update was and give them a chance to ask a question about what you just shared.
And that’s it! Hit send. What will happen is people will stop you in the hall and say,
I loved your last email update from marketing. I had no idea you hired a unicorn trainer for that last campaign! Wow! And it seemed like our customers loved it. I’d love to talk to you more about how our dept can help.
Bam. Now you’re riding off into the corporate sunset. What will happen next? The executive team will start reading your updates and see how you’re partnering with all the departments.
And they will come knock on your door.
Ready for the third tip? I knew you were.
3. Host Open Office Hours
Oh great another meeting.
Heck no! This isn’t a meeting. People hate meetings and they hate PowerPoint. This is open office hours, totally different.
Here’s what you’re going to do.
Invite EVERYONE in the company to join your open office hours. This can be one hour or two hours, but not three hours.
Gross that’s too long.
The reason you’d do two hours is if you had multiple offices that people travel in between. You’d want to offer enough time for people to slip in for a few minutes.
Ok, here’s the format for the open office hours.
- No PowerPoint.
- Peanut Butter M&M’s for all! If people are allergic make sure to bring them gluten free crackers or sparkling water…
- Open conversation.
- Projector to do live demonstrations.
- No PowerPoint. Just wanted to make sure we’re clear on that.
In the meeting invite you’ll let people know they can come for the whole time or just a few minutes. The point here is to let people come in, ask questions, and the marketing team share information.
This isn’t a class or a how-to session. This is an open conversation (with Peanut Butter M&M’s).
I’ve tried the whole ‘come to our social media instructional course class’ blah blah blah. People hate that. Seriously they do.
People love open office hours because during this time you can show them what they want to see.
- Share the latest creative direction you’re testing in marketing.
- Share stats on a recent campaign and how it drives the business forward.
- Look at the survey responses you’re seeing from your bi-weekly email and see what insights people are finding the most valuable to dive in deeper.
In the meeting invite you can even share 3–4 topics as thought starters so people can come with that in mind.
I’ve seen an incredible amount of success and collaboration that come from open office hours. It build trust with departments which in turn puts marketing in everyone’s good graces.
When a department head has the ear of an executive, they’ll share what they just learned in your open office hours or bi-weekly email.
That’s it! Now get to work.
This is how you’ll gain more buy-in with your executive team and across all departments (double prizes!).
I meant it when I said I’ve been there. I have. I’ve tried to fight for more budget and buy in and through all the different approaches this one I just shared with you works the best.
What have you seen that works to get more buy in from your executive team? Comment below.
About me: I’m Adam Buchanan and I help outdoor companies grow sales and loyalty by infusing more trust with their audience because I believe trust must exist before a transaction takes place. If you’d like to hop on a free strategy call with me send me an email at email@example.com. You can also connect with me on twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook if you’re into that. You can also sign up for my email at adamcbuchanan.com.