Today’s profitable, result-generating relationships are frequently forged via online content, conversations and relationships. CMOs, however, often struggle to personally build a consistent social presence online due to competing priorities for their time.  What can CMOs do to empower their teams to build relationships socially that deliver real business results?

Our Denver Chapter discussed these challenges and more at their recent CMO Club dinner led by marketing strategist, speaker and the co-founder and CEO of Boom! Social, Kim Garst. One thing that sets Kim — a true social media icon — apart is her ability to tie social presence to business outcomes.  She shared her ideas on social with a group of many of Colorado’s finest marketing leaders in these three areas:

Must have.  For CMOs, social is not a nice to have, it’s a must have

Results.  Social can be tied to real business results (ROI, Revenue)

Empower. Your team is the key to unlocking your social potential – as a business, as a marketing team and as an individual.

1.  Must have. Many CMOs do not have the interest or time to manage on-going social outreach each and every day.  Understandably.  Social media takes time to build and is hard work.  However, social media can lead to significant upticks in engagement, advocacy, revenue and ROI.

Social has moved from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” imperative for marketing leaders.  In order to engage socially, step one is to make this change in prioritization and then lead by example.  Don’t fret about the time tug, we also discussed some ideas of how to do this with current CMO time constraints.  More on that in a moment….

2.  Results.  Role model businesses in social media are creating competitive differentiation and reportable business results from their social presence. A couple quick examples:

My Starbucks Idea. Mark Grindeland referenced this awesome social community.  Now over five years old and staying strong, Starbuck’s crowdsourcing and customer engagement platform has gathered over 150,000 ideas from customer which translated into 277 new Starbuck innovations.  We will let you see the sales volume Starbucks has generated as indicated in this five-year anniversary infographic.

Lululemon. Canadian fitness powerhouse brand Lululemon has built something of a social media empire. They have turned customers and employees into diehard Lulu advocates by creating online communities that reflect the corporate and in-store culture that is dedicated to a happy and healthy lifestyle. Far from pushing products 24/7, Lululemon is more likely to share fitness and nutrition tips as well as inspirational and motivational quotes than push a new pair of yoga pants. Each Lululemon store also has its’ own social media pages where they connect with customers on a local level by acting as a bulletin board for community events – online counterparts to the bulletin boards that are present in each Lululemon store.

Emerson at 125.  The year 2015 marked engineering and technology giant Emerson’s 125th anniversary. While initially reluctant to celebrate a 125th anniversary, Emerson CMO Kathy Button Bell changed her mind when she realized that the number of years was not the point. The point was capitalizing on an opportunity to celebrate her brand both internally amongst employees and externally with customers and the press. Her team used event as an opportunity to reach and inspire both a younger audience as well as a science-minded psychographic. To do this, Emerson teamed up with YouTube sensation and self-proclaimed “science nerd”, Hank Green, to launch a new campaign highlighting their devotion to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. Read more about Emerson’s anniversary campaign here. 

3. Empower. Given intense calendars and competing priorities, CMOs can empower their teams to help build a strong social presence and amplification approach that works for the business, for the team and for the CMO.  Here are some practical ideas:

  • Create a structure that provides content, context and tweets / posts for the greater team.  Assign an owner on your team to help enable this.
  • Educate and train your team so that individuals can embrace their voice and personality within the context of your brand goals and voice.
  • Hire an intern to help feed your social platforms with fresh, relevant content.
  • Use writers to produce highly engaging content for your target audience and communities.

Read more from Kim on how to empower your employees here