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The C-Suite Needs to Embrace Social Media

Written by Caitlin Struhs | on November 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Our guest blogger, Donna Vieira, is Vice President of Marketing of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. Donna and her team work with associations to help them successfully grow and transform their organizations. Their approach includes online marketing plans, which include social media marketing techniques, as well as working to create Millennial-friendly work cultures, environments and policies. Learn more about Donna by following her on Twitter, @DonnaVieira, and connecting with her on LinkedIn, linkedin.com/in/donnavieira, or email, donnav@interlinkONE.com. Read on for Donna's best social media tips.

Are you using social media effectively? If not, you may be missing out on an important channel for reaching your customers, but you're definitely not alone. Many in the C-Suite still haven't embraced social media in any meaningful way.

Last month, Forbes published its '50 Most Influential CMOs On Social Media' list, and the results were telling. Only nine of the CMOs on the list came from Fortune 500 companies, and only ten were from software firms. This is a troubling statistic for us here at interlinkONE and Grow Socially, since we stress the importance of social when helping our clients develop their marketing strategies (Maybe that's why our own John Foley, Jr. came in at #15 on the Forbes' list, beating out big brands like Target, Visa, and social-savvy website Mashable. Congratulations, John!).

The C-Suite may be missing out on a major opportunity to reach and engage with their audience by not embracing social media. Their resistance is understandable: ROI of a social campaign can be hard to measure if you haven't set concrete goals. And social media's impact is often described in terms of likes or mentions, intangible results that don't always appeal to the C-level's concern for the bottom line.

If there's one thing the Forbes' report can teach us, it's that CEOs and CMOs need more education on social media's real business benefits before jumping in with both feet.

To that end, here are some things you can do immediately to boost your organization's social media efforts:

Create a Buzz. Your social media profiles aren't just there to passively give information - your aim is to create a buzz and get your members (and non-members) talking about and sharing your posts. Make sure your organization grabs your audience's attention by focusing on providing interesting content for your members, from topical articles to updates on your latest event.

Join Conversations. Seek out people who are already interested in your organization, or those who might be, and reach out to them. While you're at it, don't forget to look up people in your industry, especially experts and influencers, and make connections with them. Look for relevant conversations, such as using hashtags on twitter, and join in with them.

Talk, Ask, and Listen. Social media gives your organization a way of talking with your members and prospects at anytime and anywhere with an Internet connection. Fantastic content is important, but don't forget the human touch. Talk with your followers. Respond to comments in a timely and professional manner. Ask open-ended questions to encourage a response. Find out what your followers want from your online presence.

Build Beyond Your Community. An active community of engaged members is a goal shared by organizations nationwide. Social media is your chance to build upon your active online community to further increase engagement and get your members talking about causes that matter. Make it easy for your members to come together online and work to actively encourage them to join causes, share things with their own networks, and join in with conversations.

Have a Plan and Revise Regularly. Proper planning is essential to any successful social media strategy. When you plan what you want to achieve from your social media presence first, you'll find it a lot easier to measure whether you are meeting your goals. Use metrics to find out what is working and what isn't, and combine that with your member feedback to give you a clear idea of what to do to make your social media efforts yield the results you want.

Forbes did a good job of summing up why social networking is so important for CMOs of organizations both big and small: "Social media has become a part of our world - it's how we interact with friends, family, co-workers, brands, and media."

That's why John and the whole interlinkONE and Grow Socially team encourage our clients to get active on social media. As John says of the Forbes' list, "One of the mottos we live by is to eat your own dog food, or in other words, practice what you preach. This list is a great way to show we truly believe in the power of social media as a way to gain exposure and increase sales."

Creating an effective social media strategy and solid metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but the business benefits of a social campaign are well worth the effort.

Topics: Communications, Engagement, Marketing, Social Media

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