Selling social media to your management or board

A lot of organisations would like to use social media – but they’re blocked by management.

CEOs, board members and others can be wary of social media because they are the guardians of an organisation’s future and its reputation. They constantly assess risk, and social media can appear to be a volatile and risky space.

So how do you convince the powers that be, that social media is worth trying? Here are some tips to help you plan your approach:

  1. Firstly, you have to know what you want to do with social media. Why are you convinced it’s worth trying? How do you plan to use social media? Don’t take the idea to management if you just want to join the social media bandwagon. You need to have objectives and be ready to share them. What is social media going to do for your company?
  2. Forecast the questions and concerns your managers might ask. What are their likely concerns with social media? Are they worried about the time staff will spend on social media? The potential online stoushes? Do they think social media is a passing fad?  Or do they simply think it won’t contribute to the business? Be prepared to answer their concerns.
  3. Research your managers’ social media use.  Do they use LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? Have a look at their online profiles and try to gauge how much education they may require.
  4. Research your competitors’ use of social media and use them as examples. You could also research what your partners, suppliers or other stakeholders are doing on social media, and share that with your management. Show them that social media is not an unchartered space, but is being used effectively by their peers.
  5. Enlist help from within the organisation. Who are the other social media ‘champions’ who might support you? Conversely, who might stymie your efforts? Do you need to meet with IT staff first to address any technical issues? Do you need to meet with HR to talk about a social media policy?
  6. Use pictures. Don’t understimate management’s lack of social media knowledge. During your pitch, use screenshots of Facebook business pages, industry blogs, LinkedIn Groups or whatever else is relevant, to help them understand how it all works.
  7. Outline how you’re going to measure social media success, and how you’re going to report on this. Management will need peace of mind, and looking forward  to regular reports helps facilitate that. Perhaps you’ll send them Facebook Insights once a month, and screenshots of engaging posts. Perhaps you’ll report on social media’s impact on your website traffic, or its impact on your customer service workload. (Ensure however, that management is aware that social media is a long term undertaking and you’re not likely to get results overnight).

    "Selling Social" to management, Prakky
    "Selling Social" to management, Prakky

For more on this topic, see Connecting Up’s Storify of a recent conversation on Twitter, where we delved into these tips and more.

Have you had to pitch social media to management? What’s worked for you? 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post again Prakky – thanks!

  2. Senior managers are rightfully wary but the great ones are still open to the ideas. I just had a very successful retirement village provider tell me they need to be in the space. Your post, Prakky, is timely. And point 6 is a big one and needs to be handled with tact.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks Cullen, you’re right! Handled poorly, point 6 could be .. dangerous.

  3. Joshua White says:

    Hi Prakky,
    I agree completely with these points. I work in council and bringing such a concept to the attention of management involves very specific indication of how social media will benefit them and reach business goals.

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