You have been trying to sell the benefits of social media to your company’s executive team only to be met with questions like “LinkedIn, why?” “Tweet, what?” “Facebook, really?” Sound a little too familiar? Feel like are fighting an uphill battle and just want to die on the hill already?
In many of our leadership executive coaching and career transition coaching engagements, we focus on helping executives understand the power social media marketing has to bolster both organizational and personal brands. Here are three simple ways to get the executive team’s attention:
No Whining; Offer a Plan
If you have met with the objections above, you may be frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm in your organization for the power of social media. While you clearly see the benefits of social media (brand building, direct communication channels with customers, more avenues to drive customers back to your website, etc), the executive team does not. In turn, you may feel like whining for lack of being able to move forward. I once had a manager named Pamela who said, “No whining without a solution.” Follow up whining quickly with a solid plan. Develop a plan for moving your organization into the social media realm. Start small, like picking one social network that is easy for your company to manage and on which you’ll keep an active profile. Show in your plan how you can build your social media presence from there.
Educate Your Executives
Knowledge really is power. Think about the last time someone presented an idea that you immediately dismissed, but over time you saw the value of the idea. Did you stop to think, “If only the person spent more time explaining the pros and cons, walked through some scenarios or spoke plainly to me (no techie language)?” I have a friend who got this saying from her grandfather that makes me laugh every time, “If ‘if’ was a fifth, we’d all be drunk.” In other words, don’t leave your executive team wondering “if only we had understood the benefits of social media marketing.” Present your executive team with research and information about specifically how social media has helped organizations similar to yours. Show proof. Keep it short and include data and examples. As you present the benefits of social media to your executive team, make sure your presentation is educational and sprinkled with many enlightening “a-ha!” moments.
“If ‘if’ Was a Fifth,…”
Good Idea, but Where’s the Money Honey?
At the heart of social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., is intangible. When executives look at social media, they are probably asking, “Yes, great idea to bolster our brand, but how are we going to make money?” This is where you, the presenter have to make a compelling story giving examples of the power of social media, and how similar organizations (even your competitors) are using social media to make money. It’s not always easy to show how engaging your customer base can positively impact the bottom line. Yet, it’s critical to demonstrate how your organization can expect to drive sales and positively benefit from social media marketing.
You can get your executive team on board with social media. But you need to make a compelling case.
I’d be interested to hear how you got your company’s executive team more engaged in social media. Please share what worked for you!
Stephanie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.