Part 2: 10-Point Checklist: Getting C-Suite Buy In for Social Media

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Continuing this from my last piece, let’s look at:

The Next 5 Steps to Help You Get C-Suite Buy In for B2B Social Media

  1. SPEAK FROM A POSITION OF “BEEN THERE, DONE THAT”. For all the talk about “digital age” and “smart phone era”, many companies are still headed by honchos who are wary of new technologies. And they are often wary of social media for this same reason—they don’t know enough about it and they have not tried it. So if you are working your way towards getting executive buy in, demonstrate that you have actually stuck your hands in the mud, got down and dirty and really done this yourself. You have written a blog post, you have interacted with key audiences on LinkedIn, you have an interactive group rather than just a fan following on Facebook, and so on. CEOs and other senior leaders will be more confident in your ability as a marketing department to run an effective and profitable social media campaign if they can see you’ve “been there and done that”.
  2. ANTICIPATE THE C-SUITE QUESTIONNAIRE. When you approach top management about getting their consent on your social media strategy and plan, you are going to be asked some very pointed questions. It will help you to think about these ahead of time so you can provide the most convincing answers. For example, you may be asked about how social can be leveraged for knowledge-sharing and collaboration within the employee network. Or how customer feedback and market intelligence can be fed into relevant departments simultaneously to implement rapid and proactive action plans. You know that social media can play a valuable role in all of this—so think about how exactly and keep your responses ready for the C-Suite.
  3. OUTLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE ENHANCEMENTS. Enterprise ticketing systems, helpdesk phone lines and call centres are all cost items in your company’s balance sheet. Show the bean counters how social networking can bring down these costs significantly and enhance customer satisfaction rates with faster, better problem resolution and support. Use this point to also build a case for reduced marketing-to-sales expense and you have an even better trump card!
  4. AFFIRM THAT SECURITY AND BRANDING WILL NOT BE JEOPARDISED. In the past, CEOs would worry about an employee getting drunk and blabbering at a customer meet. Today’s CEOs worry about employees shooting off their mouths on social media. It is a real and valid fear. What measures and policies do you have in place to ensure that all employees understand the limits and abide by the Dos and Don’ts with regard to your organization’s social media activities? What’s that? You don’t have a social media policy? Start now!
  5. SHOW THE OPPORTUNITY COSTS OF NOT BEING SOCIAL. Like it or not, there will be social conversations about your company and your brand. The cost of not being involved in these conversations is actually much higher and can be more damaging than your C-Suite can ever imagine. Find examples of other companies that took a hit on social channels because they chose not to interact, or responded inappropriately, or were too late. Lots of examples of these situations so if you can find one in your industry, and preferably one of a competitor, use it and push that card hard!

How did you get your C-Suite to buy into your B2B social media plan? Or are you still struggling to get their buy in for this? Any thoughts or ideas you would like to share? Please leave me a comment.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.

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