Saturday, May 2, 2009

5 strategies to get the Boss into Social Media

Getting the CEO to “drink the Kool Aid” and invest in a SoMedia strategy

Using Social Media to sell the idea of Social Media is not a new idea. But here are five ways you can use it to sell the boss on the idea of investing some time and money in a SoMedia strategy:

1. Show him or her how much you can learn about competitors: A few quick searches across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook on a competitor’s company name, its key executives and its biggest brands will turn up a wealth of information.

Do some of these searches ahead of time and have them saved. Be sure to go first to one or two that reveal something new about the competitor. Explain that your company’s SoMedia efforts would be better because they would happen within company guidelines.

2. Show who in your industry is already there. If there are a lot of other companies in your industry already in SoMedia – “Why aren’t we there too?” If there are few or no other companies already there – “What are we waiting for? We can get way out in front.”

Be ready with questions such as “What’s in it for us?” (More customers and more-engaged customers) and “Will this cost us a lot of money?” (No, but we should re-allocate some of our existing marketing money.”)

3. Point out any existing Social Media expertise in the organization. Someone in accounting is a LinkedIn expert, someone in sales is a Twitter addict and someone in the front office is already blogging. Great. The in-house talent base is already established.

This means the organization is not starting from scratch – always an appealing thought to an unsure executive.

4. Use “What if” questions to pose some possibilities. “What if we start a Facebook fan page?” Or: “What if we start a blog to talk about some of the interesting things we’re doing here?” Perhaps: “What if we try a Twitter account as a way to talk directly to our customers?”

Having plenty of these questions ready will show the boss that you’ve given this some thought and you’re only suggesting baby steps. Yes, eventually you would hope to persuade them that a much bigger effort is needed … up to and including a Social Media plan and a budget to fund it. But starting small can help a nervous boss dip his or her toe in the Social Media water confident that they won’t quickly get dragged under by some underwater leviathan.

5. Try fear-mongering. Ask some of the 15 Questions to Ask a CEO Skeptical About Social Media from Axel Schultze’s excellent post on the CustomerThink Blog.

Questions such as “Do you know … how vulnerable you are?” and “Are you ready if your competitors go after your customers in the social web?” ought to get him or her to sit up straight and think about Social Media.

This last suggestion is said only half in jest. For some bosses the only real motivator will be “What will happen if I don’t do this?”

As Social Media takes more and more of your customers’ time the answer to that question might just be … no customers?

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