Almost every company has an organizational hierarchy. Usually the C-Suite is at the top, followed by a Vice President or Senior Executive with employees and interns at the bottom. This type of organizational structure provides a clear line of authority and reporting.
However, an overly hierarchical culture hinders the creativity of content – especially when it comes to social media. It feeds into the myth that only those with “Senior” or “Executive” before their titles have ideas worth listening to and those below have less experience, wisdom and creativity. Indeed, it prevents brands from realizing their true potential when executives only seek ideas from their peers.
Reminder: Just because someone is more experienced than you doesn’t mean they’re better than you.
– sheeta verma (hesheetaverma) November 30, 2020
Let’s get rid of the phrase “this is above my pay grade” when it comes to decision making and brainstorming – all opinions are valid and voices should be heard. Regardless of the role.
It should never be above or below your salary level to work together.
– Tara Robertson (@taraerobertson) December 29, 2020
The beauty of creative marketing ideas is that they can come from anyone, whether it’s your art director who has been around for years or the fresh-faced intern who is fluent in the TikTok dictionary. The problem for many brands, however, is that their own hierarchy brings these creative ideas to life.
Many social media managers have hindered their professional growth from managers who do not understand or respect their skills or who reject their ideas out of caution or ignorance. It is difficult to rise and be successful if you are not taken seriously or included in company decisions.
– ella dawson (@brosandprose) June 18, 2020
Let me finish …
If brands are serious about being creative on social media, they have to give up the hierarchical mentality. It is even more important that they create space for every employee to propose ideas without having to worry about being shot down by the HIPPO in the room.
For managers overseeing a social team, trust your direct co-workers when it comes to being creative on social media. Get to know your social team, ask questions about their responsibilities, and be vulnerable when you just don’t know. Provide a social media style guide to make sure everyone is aligned with the brand’s goals and values before ideas are implemented. Most importantly, don’t dismiss an idea right away as it comes from someone less experienced than you.
Equally important is making sure your company’s culture is psychologically safe for everyone – be it a new hire, permanent veteran, or intern. As a leader, set a role model for your direct reports by conducting authentically and vulnerably, and letting your junior marketers know it is okay to make mistakes. By empowering your junior marketers to share their work with leadership, you create a culture of recognition that affirms that the best ideas can truly come from all levels of the company.
Because if we remove the hierarchy from the brainstorming process, it can lead to social content like the Chipotle Lid Flip challenge, which generated over 111,000 video submissions in the first six days. Or the Marlins tweet, which is based on a contemporary and popular internet meme that garnered over 15,000 likes.
Organizational hierarchies are great for structuring in any company. But I’m willing to bet that those who are at the top of your company’s hierarchy are not going to make up the next “how it started … how it goes” meme.
How do you stand up for your teams in your own organization? We want to hear from you! Tweet us @SproutSocial about how to create a culture where ideas can flow freely at all levels of your company.