Getting Buy-in From the Higher-ups for Your Social Media Proposal
In this high-tech marketing era, social media is the buzz word du jour. Everywhere you look, there it is. In fact, it’s being hailed as the one-stop resource for making your marketing dreams come true. That’s great if you know how to put social media to work for you.
One of the most challenging tasks you may encounter as you go about setting up your social media program is to obtain buy-in from upper management, who may consider social media to be a fad and refuse to provide the resources you need.
A plan for getting buy-in:
1. Build a solid proposal
Define development goals and objectives for engaging in social media, then back it up with tangible and meaningful statistics about the value social media can provide to your specific business. Find examples of other peer businesses and competitors that have achieved success similar to your goals. You’ll have a foundation for building your case to upper management.
2. Do your research and put it to the test
There are many social media applications out there, so decide what features you need. Once you’ve found out all you need to know, try it yourself. Write a blog, post on a wiki, sign up for Facebook®—become familiar with what these sites can do and you’ll be better equipped to offer compelling arguments in favor of it.
3. Carefully choose your words
Present social media in the context of collaboration and the exchange of knowledge.
4. Kill the stigma
Social media applications are worthy tools for enhancing learning—it’s not all just for fun. While people do use them for socializing, they can also be applied for embedding and retaining learning more effectively.
5. Educate the decision makers
Show them how social networks can be used in business and learning, and dispel any myths or misconceptions. Use screenshots and videos to supplement your facts. Be ready to answer hard questions about ROI and up-front cost. Manage expectations by not overselling—setting the bar too high could lead to disappointment and backlash.
There is no longer any time to wait. Studies show that a high number and wide variety of businesses have jumped on the social media bandwagon. According to the latest Pew Charitable Trust Social Media Update, 52% of on-line adults use multiple social media sites regularly, which is up from 42% from the last few years. This means that regardless of your audience, chances are at least some of them are on Facebook®, LinkedIn® or another social media site.
Nearly every industry is represented in some way through social media. If you’re in an industry that’s under-represented, becoming an “early champion” of social media could mean big benefits to your career and your company. It’s up to you to make your bosses and superiors see the value and necessity of taking advantage of this powerful new resource.