Selling Social Media to the Decision Makers

We’ve written a lot on the importance of becoming a business that embraces social media, but anyone who has every worked for a company (especially a large one) knows that there’s a gigantic barrier when it comes to talking the talk and actually walking the walk. This barrier is the decision makers.

It’s your boss.
It’s the CMO
It’s the PR director.
It’s the Customer Service Manager.
It’s the person or people who are calling the shots and making the tough choices on a daily basis.

It 100% irrelevant if any single individual or group of employees are sold on the concept of social business. The decision makers have to be on board. The decision makers have to give the ok.

Considering the fact that you’re reading this blog, it’s safe to assume that you’re passionate or at least curious about the social space. Once you’re sold it’s time to get the higher ups on board. You’ve got to convert the non-believers.

Sound crazy? It’s not. This is big stuff. It’s a real obstacle and could be the largest barrier that stands in the way of pushing social forward.

Not sure how to win others over? Here’s a starting guide:

1. Be prepared to sell

Get ready to sell. Some people “get it”, but a lot of people don’t. Those who don’t must be sold. If they’re not sold, it’s next to impossible to win. A no doesn’t work and a maybe is another version of no. You must disarm the doubts and be prepared to answer the big questions.

2. Make the dollars make sense (and cents)

It all starts with revenues and expenses. Can you increase revenues or reduce expenses? If not it’s going to be an uphill battle. This is business 101. You must be able to prove that there will be some type of return.

Increased brand recognition? Happier customers? An increase in traffic?

These are all great, but how will you prove it? If traditional marketing yields X return, how can social compete with it?

3. Have a plan

A plan isn’t blogging 2 times a week. A plan isn’t creating an “engaged Facebook page”. These are actions, but they don’t really mean anything. What’s the big picture?

Don’t just tell it, show it.
Create a proposal in writing that contains a plan with actionable items.

4. Highlight the competition

If the competition is already active and doing the things you should be doing it’s a smart idea to make it known. Speak loudly and clearly that you could be missing opportunities. Almost nothing ignites the fire under a decision maker more than the fear of losing market share to the competition.

5. Focus on the end result

Paint the picture of what your company would be like if it fully embraced social. Imagine a business that did incredible things in an emerging discipline. Take it full circle and sell a new way of operating, a new way of communicating and marketing. It’s going to take work, but the end result is beautiful thing.

Go out and sell it. Have confidence and instill that confidence in others.
The future starts with you and me.

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