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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 onboard with 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.


Great post Nisrine! What you've described here is the classic consultative approach. It's not about selling technology, it's about understanding the client's business problem. The technology will sell itself if we've fully engaged the client in a problem-focused conversation.

Hi Nisrine, a well written follow-up to your last post ‘Why businesses are afraid of social media?’. I agree with David’s comment. One of the tools in Structured Problem Solving is Stakeholder Management Matrix. To know the stakeholders is half the battle won and if their expectations are properly managed and executed, you are well on your way to a successful implementation.

On a lighter note, though this post is about suggestions on how to get the bosses on board with social media, I believe the first four suggestions are equally handy during annual performance appraisals!

Yeah, last but not the least, for businesses which are still afraid of Social Media after your last post, I quote this from Mashable. This is how one business responded to a recent facebook rant:

“We are always grateful for input from our users, but your comment was particularly poignant,” the company wrote in the video’s description. “If Facebook had a ‘love’ button, we’d have clicked it. But it doesn’t. So we’ve made you a video instead.”

Check out the full story on:

Wow Nisrine what a knowledgeable and helpful post. I hope lots of people from advertising and marketing see this. Cheers!

The thoughts & ideas you bring are very relevant indeed. The fascination of businesses to jump onto Social Media must be ruthlessly evaluated through a hawkish look at the business objectives. A failure of alignment of Social initiatives with corporate goals will only spell disaster and your boss will never put his/her trust on you again. So I fully agree with your idea of understanding your boss's prerogative. But at the same time, you must be fully aware of the entire business instead of just one function alone.

My two cents.

Well written, Nisrine. I cant agree more with you. Speaking the boss' language is the way to get things done, not just selling Social Media:)

Offlate, I have been using LinkedIn to promote our events and the response its generating has been very encouraging! Our bosses are opening up to budget for Social Media Advertising for 2013 GTM plans..

Hey Nisrine. Nice post it is. Most of the things in Social Media are easier said than done. This article definitely helps in getting things "done" rather than just keep saying it.

Hey Nisrine
I'd love to sell my boss on social media, but who'd buy him? :)
Seriously though, well written article.

hi nisrine,
I have been on this quest to make clients understand the need for social media for a long time now. So it was very nice to read your article. Next time can you put up some case studies 'simplified layman approach' and how it has helped a brand. that would be very nice :)

Great! Very well articulated.
However, the Consumer factor and the consumer tastes has to be the cause of the action rather than the tastes of the Boss; following the Rule- "CUSTOMER IS THE KING." Also there has to be a great deal of liberty that doesn't let to hang around your Boss and keep waiting for your work to get approved. The Boss must have enough reliance on his/her employees' delegated work. Else it would become a conventional and a too slow process to target the goals. And I don't think A 21st century boss would has enough time to see every single detail of his employees' work.

Very interesting,Nisrine. Actually,am impressed with the approach. Will let you know if it works for me :)

Good blog. I like the way you have illustrated the approach. I believe it is all dependent on making the connection.

This is a nice and simple guide to helping clients or bosses get to understand Social Media. Most marketeers still have no idea ho to use it!!!

Ultimately, it depends on the business problem and context.

I dont believe social media is for all businesses. Sometimes, clients just jump into it for the sake of it.

That's not right. And in fact I think it looks a bit silly.

There are many factors that decide whether your brand should be social.

The product you are selling: will social, assist in sales and customer service?

The brand personality: is your brand interesting, and does it have a point of view that people care about?

Can we create a unique way of using social media that competitors havent used?

Lots of factors should be considered before...

Thanks for this!

Hello Nisrine ... benefits not features ... the digital space has much to offer to brands and businesses ...great article and nicely articulated.Keep it going.

Sometimes, it is just a question of showing something that works! We've seen instances where success results from a small scale campaign can help get the boss' nod for a bigger campaign on Social Media. Of course, benchmarking with competition is also a sureshot winner!

Nice one, insightful. some spellos, check them thoroughly next time.
warm regards

Nisrine; having read your previous blog -this is the way forward indeed. Those are extremely useful points.Keep up the good work.

Hi Nisrine,

Nice work. Unfortunately I could not read through your previous one but I agree with your point which says show casing ' Return on Investment' and Ask. Believe. Receive concepts. If you gonna follow up on a new writing gimme a shout I would love to have a reading :) Kudos for this one.

Thank you,Dave. Glad you liked it. Appreciate it

Thank you, Himanshu. Like the humpour and the link as well. Appreciate it.

Thank you,Josh! It is motivating indeed especially when it comes from an advertising veteran like you. Appreciate it.

Thank you,NJ! Absolutely, you are so right.Its not just one function but the busines as a whole. Appreciate it.

Thank you,Anitha! Only if all the businesses were as proactive as your company. Thank you for sharing your thoughts again. Appreciate it.

Thank you,Suresh You are right. Its all about action! Appreciate it.

Thank you,Raveen! Love the humour as well.

Thank you,Neel! Glad you found it useful. Will do. Appreciate it.Cheers

Thank you,Naeem! You put that very nicely-Customer is the king indeed. Appreciate it

Thank you,Mehek! Please do. Appreciate it

Thank you,Zohar! I am delighted to know that you liked it. Appreciate it

Thank you Toby! I am delighted to see your comment here. You are so right.Appreciate it

Thank you Mrinmoy! Will keep that in mind.Appreciate it

Thank you ,Ramya!You put that very nicely.Benchmarking competition is key as well.Appreciate it

Thank you ,Ajay!Yep, will keep that in mind. Appreciate it.

Thank you ,Nazir. Appreciate it.

Thank you very much,Kishore. Appreciate it. Will do.

Very interesting Nisrine, Good blog.

Hi Nisrine,

Very well written article to explain the use of social media well follow up of your previous article. Social media is gaining popularization rapidly and to use it for business perspective is a great idea. Also, you can be the smart thinker of your team if you can convince your bosses to use social media as a part of advertisement.

In the end, I can say that one can present this article to his boss to make him understand the effectiveness of the social media.


very nice one Nisrin...:)

Thank you very much indeed,Saritha. You are welcome here anytime :)

Thank you very much ,Gaurav.Appreciate that you took time to read my blog.

Arun,you are right.Social media is inevitable and thank you for recommending my blog.Appreciate it.Cheers.

Good article Nisrine. Benefits not features. What's in it for them. Knowing/understanding your customer, is key to getting their buy-in on any product, service, concept etc.

you have explained the business tactics in simple words.. marvelous...reminds me words of Albert Einstein- "If can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

Thank you,Anne. Appreciate it. You are right. And see the pint you are coming from . However, yt is features and not benefits because the target audience am refering to in my blog is"The Boss" who is already aware of the benefits.So we need articulate the features to reiterate the benefits. Cheers

Thanks Nisrine! Much appreciated. As you had mentioned, it took sometime to learn & move to Social Media. Your blogs helped, really worked!

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