What role should your sales reps and showroom staffers play in managing your social media content? Should someone at the corporate office be involved?
First of all, it’s important to establish the fact that social media is a foundational and essential tool in your marketing arsenal. If your mindset is that social media is “extra” or “for millennials only,” it’s high time you shift your thinking. Social media is firmly established as a fundamental way customers discover, assess, shop, and build loyalty with businesses like yours. If you need more convincing, read any of my previous articles—or just look around at the world we live and breathe in today. Social means business, my friends!
With assurances that you have elevated social media to a core aspect of your marketing strategy, let’s talk brass tacks for businesses like yours.
Here’s a look at how to structure your approach to social media in order to represent your business and brand effectively, while appropriately involving your sales team. Whether you run a single location or multi-site business, these approaches will help you achieve more consistent, measurable success with your digital marketing.
Hey, corporate—You need to lead this machine!
It’s up to the company leadership to set marketing objectives and sales goals and then guide the entire team to embark on strategies that will support success. Social media can quickly become a time vortex for all involved if there’s no strategy or defined measurements for success in place. The commitment to and investment in social media needs to start at the top, and the management of all efforts needs to stay at the top.
Every location must have its own social media and online presence.
Yes, the focus on social media starts at the top—but the rubber hits the road at the local level. Whether yours is a one-showroom biz or a multi-location enterprise, you must remember the best, most useful approaches to social media happen at the geographically specific level. Why? Your customers search, connect, and make purchases locally, and there are real benefits (e.g. search results, audience engagement, special messaging to targeted audiences) in managing social based on location.
Who should run the location-specific social accounts? Ideally, you should be able to designate someone (or better yet, a couple of ‘someones’) on site at each location to run the day-to-day for social media. That’s the best way to ensure the ‘voice’ of each location is closely attuned to the immediate market and happenings of each location. If your locations extend beyond a metro area, the need for local management of social content becomes even more important.
As stated earlier, management of social media—meaning the overseeing of brand message, guidance of activity in keeping with stated goals and expected outcomes, etc.—needs to stay at the top. Someone at the corporate level should be consistently checking in on social activity to ensure consistency and efficacy of the efforts. This does not require micro-management—not at all. This simply means that the entire organization is taking social seriously so that it works toward success.
Sales reps and showroom team members, it’s your call whether to be social for biz—or not.
I recommend that corporate offers guidelines for sales team members should they want to create their own social accounts to support their selling efforts. The guidelines are not intended to be intrusive; they are intended to help maximize all social efforts, make best use of everyone’s time, ensure consistent brand message and standards, while also supporting the organizational goals.
My suggested guidelines include the following:
Sales reps: Your social media accounts are your social media accounts. However, if you choose to use existing accounts for the business, corporate will observe your posts to make sure the messaging shared is on target and best represents the brand. Incorporate a mix of repurposed content from your location or corporate. But always keep social media “social” and be yourself; people love to connect with real people. This will serve you well in your current role, and likewise, you can carry this approach forward wherever your career may take you.
Corporate: Offer sales reps an inventory of images and content that can easily be copied and pasted for ease of sharing. This will alleviate the content burden for salespeople while offering the chance for individuals to amplify the key messages. Also, offer occasional tips and training for sales reps, as well as the responsible parties for each location’s postings, so that your team members are reminded of the important strategies and tactics that help make social media more effective. A simple way to offer tips and training is through web conferencing (e.g. - GoToMeeting, Zoom, Webex, or even Facebook Live for a private group you create for your team members).
Never presume that salespeople’s social activity is a replacement for the social presence of your showroom(s)/location(s). Team members may come and go, but the business is the anchor and needs its own clear and solid representation from which all other social marketing efforts are inspired and fueled.
Get ready to spend some money for best success.
Social media is increasingly pay-to-place. This is not a new revelation if you’ve been reading my column for a while. Facebook and Instagram, in particular, are primed and ready to be effective additions to your advertising spend. The paid activity on any and all social accounts for your business should be initiated and managed at the corporate level. The paid stuff should work in harmony with the organic, day-to-day posting happening at the local levels, of course. But the guidance of advertising spending—even when highly geo-targeted—is typically best led from the top.
Review, assess, regroup quarterly.
As mentioned, it’s important to track and measure social media marketing on a regular basis. Quarterly is a reasonable frequency to allow enough activity to accumulate and reveal patterns and measurable engagement. I recommend that corporate proactively involve the responsible parties at each location who are hands on with social posting. By involving these team members, you’ll reinforce what tactics matter the most and bear the best results. You’ll also continue to affirm the importance of social media marketing and allow your team members to take more ownership along the way. Does a recent report reveal that changes need to be made? Ask the social reps from each location to offer ideas on what to update. The more social the approach, the better results for your social media marketing!
I would love to serve as your team’s social media advisor! Buzz me anytime to schedule a social media assessment and web-based training session. Message me via my new website, irenewilliams.biz, anytime!