Fear of the unknown. Seemingly intangible ROI. Determining how much resource needs to be deployed. Each of these may be a reason why your CEO is hesitant to join the ever-evolving world of social media. However, your boss may be doing more damage to the business by staying out of the online conversation. Toyota’s National Marketing Manager, Doug Frisbie, says, “The price of inactivity is greater than the risks of anything we’d be doing in social media.” As cutting edge as your company may be, many consumers believe businesses without a social media network are still stuck in the Stone Age. Here are 7 tips on how to convince your CEO to leave the cave drawings and start using hashtags and @ symbols.
- Put Yourself In Their Shoes. Before you begin pitching all of your surefire ideas to the bosses, understand where they’re coming from. They’re still using “traditional” methods to direct their customers where to go. You, on the other hand, have just told your friends that you’re going to lunch on six different platforms. At the same time.
- Examine Your Goals. Think about your expectations and which platform is most appropriate for your business. Ask yourself if it’s realistic to grow your Facebook page from 0 to 100,000 likes in a month, or if you need to set a more practical goal. Also, yours may not be the type to give a 140-character status update everyday, but you want to connect your business with the leaders of your industry, so LinkedIn may be the more suitable option.
- Show The Competition. One way to encourage your CEO to embrace his social side is to show him the competition. Because they’re out there, and they’re stealing your business’ keywords. Take the time to show your boss where your competitors rank for your keywords, and you may just see him sneak his phone under the desk to download a few new social apps. Then, show some of the most active and inactive social profiles of in the industry to see what they’re doing, and ask your CEO how he’d like to measure up to their successes and failures.
- Present the Opportunities. Advise why each platform is right (or wrong) for your business, and then tell about all the circumstances in which you get to promote your brand. Contests, sweepstakes, blogs, job postings, status updates, photos, coupons, and practically anything else you can imagine (or code) are all at your fingertips when you’re on a social media network, and each of these allow your business to expand.
- Discuss Damage Control. One of the many reasons your CEO may be hesitant is because of potential negativity surrounding his company. Create a crisis plan for when the unexpected emergency arises. It’s always safer to be prepared. Talk about it with him ahead of time to explain why it is better to be transparent with customers and how else you plan to manage this type of feedback.
- Prove It With Numbers. What else is more convincing to execs than straightforward numbers? Let them know that although not always monetary, social media marketing’s ROI is much easier to measure, since analytics and insights tools can track every click of the mouse and tell you where the viewer has been. If your boss wants social media to prove itself, these statistics will provide the numbers he’s been looking for.
- Start Small. Map out your measurable goals, and recognize that you don’t necessarily need to jump in with both feet first. It’s not a requirement to join every social media platform in one day to become a socially connected business. Becoming successful doesn’t happen overnight. Stick one foot into the water by starting with pilots, using a small budget, (or even no budget), and utilizing small team in the beginning. Once you see some results, then, you can cannonball.
Remember that most importantly, social media is meant to be social. It’s about interacting with customers and engaging within communities. Mention to your CEO that by bringing your brand online, you can meet your customers where they are and find potential customers as well. It’s a win-win for your business! Follow these steps, and you’ll undoubtedly show the value of social media to your CEO and his company. After all, this isn’t the Stone Age, it’s the Social Media Age.
Sarah Turnipseede is the Social Media Specialist at Agency Creative, a full-service strategic advertising agency committed to connecting brands to customers through idea-driven solutions.