How To Convince Your Boss About Social Media

by Susan Murphy

As prevalent as social media seems to be in our world these days, there’s still a lot of question around what business value, if any, the use of social media drives. Do companies that tweet and spend time on Facebook really have an edge? The truth is, according to Business2Community, 77% of B2C companies and 42% of B2B companies have acquired customers from Facebook. 34% of marketers say they have generated leads using Twitter. These numbers are not insignificant, and many marketing folks are starting to sit up and take notice of these trends. However, sometimes the message does not get through to the top levels of business. Many CEOs, CMOs, and CFOs are still struggling with the whole idea of social media as a marketing tool, and are really reluctant to let their staff jump in. If you’re a marketing or communications pro, this can be really frustrating. You see the value, but how do you get the boss to see it? If you’re looking for ways to convince the boss to let you try social media as a marketing tool, here are a few ideas that may help.

Have a plan.
The last thing you want to do is walk into the boss’ office and say “Hey, we should get on Twitter, everyone is doing it!”. That’s almost a surefire way to make him or her run screaming in the other direction. But, if you spend a bit of time figuring out if Twitter can truly benefit your business, and how you might approach a strategy with the tool, that can go a long way to get your boss’ attention. Find successful case studies from your industry or similar industries that point to how Twitter can be beneficial (Hint: Check out!) Study what other companies (even your competition!) are doing in the space. Really strive to understand if indeed, Twitter is a good fit, and be willing to accept that maybe it’s not – in other words, be open to investigating other tools that might be more beneficial to your business. Do your homework, keep the goals of the business in mind, and don’t get caught up in the shiny objects.

Experiment on your own.
Sometimes, the best way to be able to explain things to people is to try them yourself first. I don’t mean go and set up a rogue Facebook page for your company. But do spend some time setting things up for yourself. Not sure how Facebook Ads and Promoted Posts work? Spend $10 and promote some posts on your kids’ hockey team page, or your personal blog’s Facebook page. Don’t have a blog, but want to start one for your company? Set up a personal blog first – it’s a safe place to try things, and it’s way better place to make mistakes than your company blog! The things you learn from experimenting with your own personal projects will be incredibly valuable down the road. Your boss wants to hear what the results will be, and she wants to know how it will work. If you’ve already done it yourself, you’ll be in a much better position to explain your case.

Find ambassadors.
You know that term, “strength in numbers”? It definitely holds true here. Seek out the people in your organization that have used and are using social media on a regular basis (for personal or professional reasons). Talk to them and find out their story. What has their experience been? What can they share about successes and failures? All of this information is great fodder for making your case, but more than that, you’ll be letting your colleagues know what you’re trying to do, and hopefully getting them in your corner, so when you do go to pitch the boss, he’s more receptive because he can see more than just one point of view.

If you can’t do anything else right now, at least try to see if your boss is open to having an information session about social media for staff and management. Sometimes just bringing in an expert to explain things and answer questions can alleviate fears and help the boss to know which steps to take next. It doesn’t have to cost much and even a simple lunch and learn session can go a long way to making the boss comfortable enough to take the next step.

So there you have it. 4 things that will help you at least open up the conversation with your boss about social media. Remember to do your homework, have an idea of your plan, gather those ambassadors, experiment on your own, and talk about the possibility of doing some training. You never know, you might just be the one to get social media in the door of your company!

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