Improve your company wide social strategy using vector alignment

February 14, 2018 | by Vourneen Taylor

improve your company wide social strategy

You are possibly wondering what linear algebra has to do with social media. Let me explain. I listened to Dharmesh Shah introduce the concept of what he called “vector alignment” while attending the Inbound17 event. He came up with this idea based on a conversation he had previously with Elon Musk. This concept is very simple yet most organisations find it difficult to implement or worse overlook it completely as a priority.

"Every person on the team is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors" - Elon Musk

vector alignment company wide social strategy

Improve your company wide social strategy using vector alignment:  

Links to sections on this post
  1. Excellent team, yet we're having a negative impact?
  2. The problem with departmental focused goals
  3. Free social strategy resources
  4. Example Customer Journey
  5. Example Customer Journey Scenario
  6. Using Social in Customer Support as an example
  7. Identify contacts in Twitter accross the customer lifecycle
  8. Using the forward function to email social messages to the right person internally
  9. Departmental alignment ideas
  10. Key takeaways


Excellent team, yet we're having a negative impact?

Imagine you have outstanding customer support team members, your individual contributors on the marketing team are excellent, your sales reps are top notch and so are your recruiters as they are hiring all these great people.

Even though you have great individual teams or departments, if they are not pulling in the same direction you are not going to reach your desired results efficiently. If all vectors across an entire organisation are pulling in the same direction (alignment) you will get maximum impact.

Imagine the company has a goal to double their growth, but each department interprets this differently. They want credit for their own metrics. Thus each individual team member will have a different focus or direction.

Brian Halligan, Hubspot CEO also spoke about this concept at the same Inbound17 keynote. He noticed that as the company grew, managers "optimised for their department over the company". He found it was easier to keep the vectors aligned when the numbers of employees were smaller but at scale-up it became a problem. 

To solve this problem, each employee was instructed  to think about  "Hubspot's hierarchy of needs". when making a decision e.g.Customer> Company> Department> Me 

1) Does this solve for the customer?

2) Does this solve for the company?

3) Does this solve for the department?

4) Does this solve for me?

The problem with departmental focused goals

Often a department's goal metrics can be isolated and quite different for each department within a company. As per below. Even though the goals are similar and roughly in the same direction the specific focus is different and misaligned. e.g. Marketing are not focused on getting customers but just leads. 

Marketing = Number of leads

Sales = Number of closed won deals

Support = Number of tickets closed

Recruitment = Number of new hires

Now imagine that each one of those departments uses a highly transparent and visible channel for external communications such as social media. 

The departments don't talk to each other as much, as they are now based in remote locations or in offices around the world.There is no clear aligning of process, tools or strategy in place at a company level. Ultimately, what happens, your most precious asset, your customers loose out.
does your whole company use social accross the customer journey.png


The above slide was taken from a presentation you can download below (no email required)


Check out the video, slides & free resources on "How to use social media to attract, convert, close & delight customers". 
Download our free Social Media Buyer Persona ChecklistDownload our social media buyer persona checklist

VECTOR MISALIGNMENT- Customer journey map

1. CUSTOMER SUPPORT Customer contacts support with issue while trialing product I want it to do X. But I can't get it to work?  Support won't help as I am not a paying customer :( Negative NPS Twitter
2. SALES Sales rep connects to the lead on Linkedin Why can't the sales rep help me with my issue?  The sales rep dosn't seem capable of helping me :(  Lost opportunity Linkedin
3. MARKETING Places banner ads & sends trigger emails to onboard during trial.  Why don't these emails help me solve my specific issue. I have no one to ask? I am getting too many emails & they don't help solve my specific issue. I have no one to help me.  Negative sentiment & lack of ROI Email & social ads
4.RECRUITMENT Contacts propsecitive new hire via Linkedin.  Why is this recruiter contacting me now? I have had such a bad impression and there seems to be no internal communication why would I work for this company? Lost opportunity for new hire, potential negative review on glassdoor will not recomend to peers.  Linkedin/ Glassdoor

Example Customer Journey Scenario

A prospective lead signs up for a free trial of your product. He has a problem using the product and tweets @customersupport. But they can't help him as he is not a paying customer.

The sales rep connects to the lead on Linkedin at the same time. Lead is annoyed that he didn't get help and communicates to this to the rep. The rep is on the back foot and without technical experience or a clear process struggles to help the lead.

Marketing team sends trigger emails to help onboard the prospect through the trial. The lead see's this but is frustrated that he can't seem to achieve the same results as discribed.

The recruiters contact the lead via Linkedin to see if he would be interested in a position. The lead  seems a good fit based on industry experience. The prospect is annoyed that the recruiters had no idea that he had this issue and he has communicated with others in the organisation. They are having a negative impression of the organisation

End result the lead doesn't convert, gives bad a NPS to support, he communicates to his peers with negative sentiment via Glassdoor, and in will turn down the opportunity to get a position with the organisation.

Imagine the difference in impact, if everyone was using the same tools, process and strategy and they worked together towards shared goals for the organisation. This is the concept of vector alignment in practice. 

Using social in customer support as an example

One inbound principle is to be where your customers are. Many go to Twitter to ask questions or to get help. A great way customer support can have more impact is to invest in a social customer support/ service strategy. To start with, search for mentions of your brand and product. What are people asking? What are they frustrated about or happy with? Who can best help them?


social monitoring social media strategy company wide

Identify contacts in Twitter accross the customer lifecycle 

In Hubspot, you can identify what stage of the lifecycle your contacts are at e.g. are they a lead or customer? So you can tailor your communications effectivelyto that specific stage. 

company wide social monitoring stream

Using the 'forward' function to email social messages to the right person internally.

If a team member spots a post in a social monitoring stream that they should inform others about, they can easily forward it on. (See below example from the Hubspot social tool)

email social messages to the right person in the right department internally

Departmental alignment ideas

Customer support are the eyes and ears of your organisation. They are on the ground listening to customers problems, ideas and opportunities every day via social and other channels. The potential for them to help other departments internally is huge. 

Try to identify opportunities for alignment accross other departments and to measure those against impact on the company wide goals. 

SUPPORT -> SALES - Flag opportunities for upgrades, add-ons, interactions with prospects

SUPPORT -> SERVICES - Flag potential churn risks or opportunties for case studies

SUPPORT -> DEVELOPMENT - Feedback ideas for development and bug issues

SUPPORT -> RECRUITMENT - Identify enthusiastic clients who have potential as future candidates

SUPPORT -> MARKETING - Identify frequent questions that would make good content pieces

"While a marketing strategy focuses mainly in targeting customers and promoting brands, products or services, a social media strategy is framed in a holistic managerial perspective, revealing and boosting the organizational goals in a set of pre-identified business valuable areas. "1 - 


  • Social media is not just for marketing
  • Identify which departments are using social media
  • Identify what tools are being used across the organisation 
  • Collaborate with other departments and identify opportunties for alignment that will have     impact on company wide goals. 
  • Document a clear process and strategy and educate team members company wide. 



  3. [video] What Elon Musk Taught me about Growth- Dharmesh Shah

Social Media | Strategy

Written by Vourneen Taylor

Vourneen Taylor

Vourneen Taylor delivers Inbound Strategy Workshops and in-person Hubspot training for fast growing teams in international SaaS businesses. She has 15 years experience in marketing and has onboarded over 350 Hubspot customers. At last count, she has traveled to over 125 destinations in 27 countries and has lived in London, Prague, Amsterdam, and Melbourne, as well as, her home town of Dublin. Outside of work, she enjoys sampling craft beer, good coffee, and planning the next adventure.

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