Convincing your boss of the value of social media


I'll be speaking at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Mixer, held in Chicago on Oct. 21 and 22. They've got a great lineup of speakers, and I hear O'Hare is lovely this time of year. The early bird rate expires Oct. 2, and you can get an additional discount by using the code DMSPK09.

I'll be on the panel for the "Positioning Your Company to Reap the Benefits of Social Media" interactive discussion. I'm glad it's an interactive discussion. That means if someone asks a question that I have no idea how to answer, I can say, "So, let's open that up to the audience. What do you think?"

Earlier this week, Claire Coyne from MarketingProfs asked me a question for their newsletter. I sent her my response by email. In other words, it's a blog post that just needed to be ported over here. (A lesson to keep in mind about easy ways to write blog posts.) With Claire's kind permission, I reprint it here. If you find it useful, there's lots more where this came from in store for you at the event.

The first step in convincing your boss that social media is valuable for your company is to make it real for him or her. Remember what it felt like when you first signed up for Twitter? You created your account and saw “0 following, 0 followers, 0 tweets” and you thought, “What now?” For those of us who enjoy doing this stuff daily it’s easy to forget it can be confusing and daunting when you’re getting started.

Sit down with your boss and any other doubters in your organization and give them a focused, practical introduction on how you use social media. Break the monolithic concept of “social media” down into manageable chunks and show them it’s possible to participate without becoming overwhelmed. And keep in mind that some of these social media terms can sound pretty silly to older, more traditional people in your company. Don’t baffle them with buzzwords (or worse, leave them laughing dismissively).

Show them the blogs you follow and what useful business information you glean from them. Show them how you use your RSS reader to cut through the noise and present what you most need in an easily-digestible way.

Show them how you use Twitter (or better yet, tools like Tweetdeck) to mine valuable and timely information. Dispel the misconception that people are talking about lunch and show them the useful links, market information and competitive intelligence you get that’s targeted to your business.

Have you had an interaction that lead to a quantifiable business success? Capture it in a screen shot so they can see it right away: “This person asked a question, I answered it, it led to a sale (or positive mention of our company or valuable connection)." If you haven’t had an interaction like that yourself, have one of your competitors?

If they doubt the value of social networks, show them how many people are sharing information on LinkedIn and Facebook that directly relates to your company. Every day, your customers and potential customers are posting information about their wants and needs, their plans and concerns and what’s keeping them up at night. This is the kind of information you used to pay to get from market researchers and focus groups, and now it’s freely and publicly offered, if you take the time to look for it.


Photo by Derek Kimball


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