Monday, February 8th, 2016 | 8 min read
It’s amazing how many problems one tiny paid tweet can cause if your teams aren’t communicating well. The copy uses an old product name, or the ad goes up at the same time as an important organic post, and boom: people are scrambling to fix it, fingers are being pointed, and team leaders are mad.
And it’s not just about the potential pitfalls; when there’s a lack of communication around paid social efforts, brands miss out on the power of paid to complement the work being done across the entire organization.
When you launch social ads, there are a number of roles, and even entire teams, at play: community managers, media strategists, analytics teams, editors, writers, digital agencies, customer service representatives … the list goes on.
The problem is, it’s highly likely that these teams don’t spend that much time talking together about your brand’s paid social advertising strategy. They’re operating on different wavelengths, which reinforces internal silos that stifle communication and collaboration. But before you get flustered, just know that the first step to finding a solution is admitting that this structure, and the lack of communication, is a real problem.
Let’s take a look at why, and then dive into exactly what you can do to fix it.
This might sound familiar: The people responsible for organic media have no idea how paid media works, and vice versa. So, when it comes to reporting metrics from organic and paid campaigns, it’s almost like these teams are speaking different languages. In fact, they are.
For instance, the metrics for an organic post can look very different from the metrics for a paid post (even though they seem to be tracking the same types of data). Often, a lack of knowledge about how each team pulls their numbers, and what they mean for your business, results in a lot of pointed fingers.
Someone must be doing something wrong, right?
Everyone understands their piece of the puzzle, but they don’t quite get how the other pieces fit in, and they can’t see the bigger picture. Then they get frustrated and just go back to their own tasks. They don’t take the time to learn about the other team’s strategies, meaning they don’t understand how their own insights could affect and even support those strategies.
It’s important to recognize that this is a significant problem, and brands need to dedicate time and energy to fixing it.
So, you’ve recognized that you have a problem on your hands: The teams and roles that touch paid media are too disjointed, and, as a result, they’re missing out on crucial information that could help them reach consumers with a cohesive brand voice.
This part is tough, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, since every marketing leader has to decide what works best for her company. Still, there are a few key steps you can take to figure out the most comprehensive and effective solution for your team.
This is the most crucial step, and it’s also the one most marketers fail to accomplish. Too often, marketers will run a piece of paid media and neglect to include an important person in the strategy.
For instance, the paid ads team might craft a sponsored tweet and launch it without consulting with the community manager who controls the brand’s Twitter. If the paid ads team had thought to check in with the community manager, they could’ve had access to important insights about trends on the platform and what their audiences are talking about.
Also, the community manager misses out on moderating comments from that paid tweet.
Without understanding who is main person responsible for each area, and including the right people in the right conversations, you set yourself up to drop the ball on important campaign strategies.
Once you know exactly who has a stake in your paid campaigns, your teams should commit to frequent, face-to-face meetings to discuss insights and strategies. After all, each stakeholder wants the same thing: To reach the right customers in the right place at the right time. They’re just coming at it from different perspectives.
For instance, it can be tough for people coming from more traditional paid media to understand the nuances of social because they’re so used to print magazines or search ads, where content doesn’t receive direct and immediate feedback. Through regular meetings, these team members can grasp the ins-and-outs of how audiences and brands communicate on social platforms. And together, these teams can create the strongest strategies for reaching their common goal.
The question now is: How will all of this data from various teams actually stay organized?
Well, to start, you must put the right technology in place to make sure everybody has access to all of the data they need. Next, you have to find people who can synthesize all of this information and quickly turn it into creative, data-driven campaigns. You may be thinking, can one person really do that, or do I need a small team?
Again, the answer may be different for every company, depending on size and structure. But I do know this: Those people can be mighty hard to find. In fact, I call them unicorns (no, not the billion-dollar business kind).
In this case, a unicorn is someone who is analytically minded but can also take a step back and see the bigger picture. A unicorn can look at insights from a running campaign and then turn around to draft strategy for a new campaign in a matter of minutes.
One of the best ways to find these people is to look at those who have had a variety of roles and responsibilities within marketing. In other words, it could be someone who has already done execution, analytics, and strategy, and they’ve done each one so well that they can now understand how they all fit together.
Here’s the good news: If you find yourself with this problem, it means you already have some great talent working towards your end goal. Now all you have to do is ensure that everyone is communicating properly.
This will entail setting up a central technology platform and hiring a team of top-performing, big-picture marketers who have access to the right data. Don’t wait too long to get started, because you could be missing out on valuable insights that have been slipping through the cracks.
Soon enough, the next time you send a tweet with some money behind it, you’ll know it wasn’t a random act of marketing launched by a single team operating independently—you can be confident that a knowledgeable coalition of social media experts worked together to execute paid in a way that takes all stakeholders into account.