How to Sell Your Boss on Social Media
On the train from Boston to New York, my siesta was interrupted by a passenger's boisterous dialogue set on mobile phone speaker. "It will increase revenue -NO!", "our brand visibility will go up--NO! ", and "our competition is doing it--No!" Doesn't this sound so familiar? In my previous blog, "Why businesses are afraid of social media?" I described several reasons behind such resistance. Here are a few suggestions on how to get them on board with social media:
Study your boss
Understand your boss's demographic, behavior patterns, approach-- vision and mission for the business. Is your boss a marketing or sales person? Operations? Finance? If your boss has a sales and marketing background, emphasize how social media is playing an impetrative role in marketing research to reveal hidden consumer preferences and unmet needs. Describe how markets can track and act on emerging consumer trends in real-time. If your boss came from a finance background, demonstrate how social media is saving money while delivering value in customer service or product marketing or communicating with customers.
Make the connection
Understand your boss's goal for the business then illustrate how social media will help to achieve them. Sketch out a well-defined and structured pitch. Set a time and agenda on his calendar. Align your pitch with your boss's organizational goals-- whether they're cost reduction, sales growth, market expansion etc. Always match their language to your message-- be it Facebook strategy or launching an online community forum or real time customer support on twitter.
Articulate the benefits not features
Don't sell the features of social media, explain the benefits and return on investments. Demonstrate how a marketing campaign's success can be measured by number of followers, fans, shares, likes, and / or additional increased website visitors it generates.
In short, relate these to increased sales and leads and revenue
Apply Pareto's Principle -the 80/20 Rule
Talk only 20% of the time and have your BOSS talk 80% of the time. How do you do this? Simple, ask questions about current challenges. Does your boss wants to enhance customer service operations? Where does the boss see the business in three years? How does the boss see the plan ongoing about the change? Through this, you will learn more about your boss's key focus areas and also optimize the engagement and buy-in.
Ask. Believe. Receive.
At the end; don't be afraid to ask-- "what's the next course of action?" If you feel that your boss will not approve based on a single meeting, don' shy away. Suggest the next step: provide options to choose between action and further study. For example, you might say, "We could study this more, maybe involve our agency/team members in the discussion, or we could test a few ideas what's your preference?"
If your boss is still reluctant to jump on the social media bandwagon, give him/her some time. Compile your facts. Forward them my blogs posts. Show them some success stories from your industry and soon your boss will see why developing a social media presence is a good business strategy. I would love to hear your experiences. Please, let me know what has worked for you.