Every new year brings opportunities for marketers to try new things, improve upon their old strategies and pitch ideas that have never been brought to the table before. But it’s one thing to come up with a creative idea. It’s another to pitch a social media marketing campaign and secure your boss’ approval to execute it, especially when you consider the impact the events of 2020 have had on marketing as a whole.

A powerful pitch, regardless of the circumstances, needs a strategy with proof of concept and a plan for execution. In this article we’ll walkthrough:

  • Content themes that have potential for 2021
  • Using social data to prepare your pitch
  • Showing how your idea supports business goals
  • Packaging and presenting your pitch to get your team on board

What’s the big idea? Inspiration for your social media marketing pitch

In 2021, brands may be a bit more cautious with their content due to the pandemic and growing concerns around appearing out of touch or insensitive to consumers’ needs. At the same time, they’ll need to find ways to stand out from their competition in the saturated digital space. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to completely reinvent your brand and social strategy.

A great marketing pitch idea could be as big as an original campaign or as minor as adjusting your tone of voice on social. Consider what is top of mind for your business and your specific audience and use that to influence what ideas you pitch.

According to the Sprout Social Index™, the top three reason consumers follow brands on social are to:

  1. Stay informed about new products or services
  2. Have access to exclusive deals or promotions
  3. Be entertained by and enjoy the content

Pandemic or not, those reasons aren’t going anywhere.

Data visualization from the Sprout Social Index, showing that the primary reason consumers follow a brand on social is to stay informed about new products or services (68%).

If the pandemic is still top of mind for you and making you rethink your 2021 social media calendar, consider pitching content ideas that support and benefit your audience. That might mean building content that highlights the precautions your brand is taking in stores or investing more in your social customer care strategy. According to Hubspot, the “four Cs”—community, cleanliness, contactless and compassion—will be a good point of focus for brands, especially those that rely on in-person interactions.

Coming in fourth on the list of reasons consumers follow brands is to be entertained. Considering that 2020 was a rather tense year, you might also consider pitching content or campaigns that encourage joy scrolling rather than doom scrolling.


The aforementioned stats and data should merely be a starting point that you might build upon. Once you do have more solidified, brand-specific ideas, if third-party data inspired them, embed the relevant stats in your pitch. Showing that there is merit and appetite for your ideas among your target audience can assure the people you’re pitching to that you’re onto something.

Do you have social proof that your audience will dig your idea?

Trends can be good for inspiring new ideas, but not every social trend will work for your brand. Social listening can help you hone in on specific trends and content your target audience is most interested in and engaged with, which may spark a social idea worth pursuing.

For example, a restaurant franchise used Sprout’s social listening tool to determine which menu item to feature in a new campaign. After analyzing the themes in conversations around their brand, the franchise found that nachos weren’t discussed as frequently as other food items, but they had the highest percentage of positive mentions compared to other dishes. The franchise used that insight to create new content promoting their nachos knowing their customers would be happy and engaged.

If you already have an idea in mind, social listening can help you validate if it’s something worth pursuing. Set up a listening query using relevant keywords and search terms to find frequently asked questions, demographic data and other qualitative from your audiences and industry to create new, compelling content.

Listening can also ensure that your brand is cognizant of the social and political landscape. Failure to read the room can turn seemingly well-intentioned campaigns or content into a brand crisis.

What does your data tell you?

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that nothing is certain and events can change on a dime. However, future marketing success is often dependent on past results. Digging into your social data can help you understand your audience on a deeper level and inspire new creative ideas. Once you’ve collected the necessary data, use it to back up your pitch and show your colleagues or clients why your idea has legs.

How marketers use social data - Index 2020

Look back at your content performance and embrace your inner data scientist. Using Sprout’s Premium Analytics, you can identify themes among your strongest performing content to inspire the direction of your next social campaign. Hone in on the messaging and tone of those high-performing posts as well.

Take note of any anomalies that occurred. If there was a unique piece of content that wowed your audience in a major way, that might be a good jumping-off point for your next campaign idea. Or if the opposite is true and your content fell flat, that’s equally important to know so you can reevaluate and even discontinue the use of content types, tone of voice or creative assets that don’t serve you or your audience.

Go beyond metrics and take a look at the comments on your popular posts. What was your audience actually saying and telling your brand? Their responses could be feedback that influences the direction of your content and give more context to your raw numbers.

As you build your pitch, package up all the key data points that will help demonstrate social proof and inspire confidence in your idea.

How does this idea support your marketing and business goals?

One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re pitching a new idea or social media marketing campaign: goals, goals, goals. Goals hold you accountable, guide budgeting and inform more data-driven decisions. Demonstrating how your social plan can support objectives like driving organic traffic or bringing in net new leads goes a long way in securing buy-in from those in leadership.

In case you’re unsure of how to set your goals, get SMART:

  • Specific: Goals should be clear, simple and defined.
  • Measurable: Select the key performance indicators that support your goals and set up reporting plans.
  • Achievable: Is the goal achievable with the resources you have?
  • Realistic: With your current resources of time, bandwidth and budget, is your goal realistic?
  • Time-sensitive: Every goal needs a time frame. Determine when you hope to achieve it and identify checkpoints to make sure you’re staying on track.

Round out your pitch by demonstrating how your idea will have a broad impact on your greater marketing and business efforts. If you can show that your idea will support product marketing efforts or be fruitful for your sales team, the catchers are more likely to give you the greenlight.

For additional guidance on goal setting and identifying the right metrics to track for each stage of the marketing funnel, download Sprout’s handy social media metrics map.

How will you package and present your pitch?

How you pitch a marketing campaign or idea depends on your business, brand and internal processes.  In some instances, pitching your idea might be as simple as emailing your manager, but an in-person or virtual meeting may pack more punch. This option creates a more personal connection between you, your colleagues, leadership and the idea. People often respond well if they are made to feel that they are participating in an idea’s development. According to advice from the Harvard Business Review, once the people hearing your pitch feel like a creative collaborator, the odds of rejection diminish.

To deliver a pitch that wows, whether it’s for a one-off idea or a campaign, you need to sell why this matters and clearly articulate your ideas–before they go into tactics. Make sure to include the following information in your proposal.

  • The big idea: Clearly articulate your idea, the inspiration behind it, what excites you about it and the data that supports it.
  • Why this matters: Sell your idea by answering how your audience and your brand will benefit? Make them from the very beginning of your pitch.
  • Goals: What is the intended result you expect to see after launching this idea? How will you measure ROI? Think beyond financial return. If for instance, you want to improve an internal process to promote efficiency, the return would be increased bandwidth for your team.
  • KPIs: Are there specific metrics you will track?
  • Resources: How much time will you need to dedicate to this idea? If your social team is broken up into several different roles, document who is responsible for what and the expectations that come with each position.
  • Budget: Will you need additional investments/resources? If you do need an additional budget, be specific about how, when and on what you’ll spend it.

Pitch perfect

Not every idea is a winning one, but with data, audience insights, your natural marketing intuition and a solid plan of attack, you can be confident that you will win over leadership and gain the necessary buy-in to bring your next great idea to life.

Need a bigger budget and additional resources to get it done? Use this guide and template to create a compelling social media business case