So you’re sold on this social media thing. Its fun, hip, and generally what’s happening. But how do you sell your boss (and the rest of your organization) on the benefits of diving headlong into a non-traditional marketing strategy?
For some social media is still mystical and even scary, but there are some added benefits on a number of levels.
First and foremost your boss needs to be on board. Here are a few tips for successfully pitching social media to the higher-ups:
It’s the modern day water cooler
The fact is people talk. Social media has simply made it easier. No longer do you have to physically go to the water cooler to get the office gossip. Instead it comes to you.
Apparently we’re not the only one that feels this way. There is even a Watercooler social networking application centered around, well, gossip.
The big question is “why does it matter?” Two words: brand management.
Knowing what is being said about your brand is the first step to identifying (and eliminating) negative perceptions while they’re still in their infancy. Like it or not there is a conversation happening online. You can choose to ignore it, but in the end you’re only hurting yourself.
Know thy audience
It doesn’t matter how great of a salesman you are, it’s still hard to sell ice to Eskimos. In other words it pays to know who your target audience is, what they want, and how you can get it to them.
Social media is a great way to do this. A lot of times all you need to do is listen (see video).
What is lacking from the conversation? What value can you/your company add? I can’t answer these questions, but your customers can.
Why can’t we be friends?
Now you know your audience, but does your audience know you? Here’s your chance.
Show people your company is more than a logo. Don’t be scared to be personable. People like to know they’re talking to another person and not a faceless company.
Believe it or not people tend to trust their friends more than their companies. But there’s nothing that says your brand can’t be their friend, too.
Consumers trust recommendations from people they know and online reviews by other customers more than they trust corporate or branded communications according to a 2009 Nielsen report. Find your brand advocates online and get them talking. Odds are you already have friends out there and just don’t know it.
It’s all about the Benjamins
“If your program doesn’t seem to have a point, if it doesn’t appear to benefit the organization in specific, tangible ways, then it will have little value to the CEO.”
- Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization, Oliver Blanchard
The key to business is, well, business. Translate social media aspirations into dollars and (common) sense. How exactly you do this depends on your industry, business model, and other factors, but there are some great statistics out there that show social media’s potential.
The average budget spent on social media and company blogs has nearly doubled in the past two years according to HubSpot’s “100 Awesome Marketing Stats, Charts, and Graphs.” Inbound marketing also costs an average of 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.
Don’t seek a strategy that justifies a social media campaign. Pitch a strategy that inherently benefits the organization and approach your boss with specific goals:
- I want to save the company 15% through the next fiscal year by shifting resources away from call centers and into social media
- I want to increase our reach and brand awareness engaging our consumers and facilitating a conversation around our brand/topic.
For all the good things we can say about social media it’s worth noting that it’s not for everybody. Consider checking out Push Social’s “4 Reasons Businesses Shouldn’t Use Social Media” to see if it’s right for your organization’s strategic needs.