Very often when someone calls me about working with them on their social media and online presence, I find that I have an uphill battle. Not with the person who contacted me; they’re usually on board and already “get it”. But there are two other internal groups that might require a little bit of education and prodding in order to get buy in.
Now before I go any further, let me say this:
Everyone must be on board
Yes, you can use social media without some of your employees even being aware that you are using it, but to be truly successful, you need everyone on board.
There are two particular groups who need to have buy-in to your social plan, in order to ensure that you do well.
Often the idea to begin using social media comes from someone in middle management, and usually from someone involved with marketing. They know what it’s all about; they get it. But in order to really move forward they need to convince their superiors to get on board. This might mean convincing their boss, the CEO, President, or VP of Somethingorother. In fact, there might be a few people above you who need to be convinced that social media is something more than a passing fad. The hard part is when there’s one particular naysayer in the bunch.
Yesterday I spoke at a conference and one of the attendees expressed some frustration over this. She mentioned that she had been given permission to create a Facebook Business page for their business, but with the caveat that they turn the comment function off. The thinking was that if you let people comment on your Facebook page, they might just say something bad about you. Go figure. Yes, this is a very real possibility. It can happen, and it will happen. But is that really a reason not to get on social media? Social media, by definition, is…social! That implies a conversation, a dialogue. If you turn off the comments on Facebook and merely spit out your marketing messages, you’ve just got yourself another web page. It defeats the purpose of being on social media in the first place, and could even backfire and cause a bit of a backlash.
But the board to which she answers is made up primarily of men in their 60s and 70s. They don’t get social media, and they probably never will. But hopefully they will at least have the sense to trust this woman (who was hired for her expertise in marketing) and give her permission to do what she was hired to do.
And then there’s another group that needs to come on board and buy into the whole social media thing.
Getting buy in from the people above you is one thing, but getting it from the people who work for you is another. Whether you are part of middle management, or even the owner of your own small business, it’s important to get all of your employees involved.
Make sure that your employees are aware of all that you are doing. If you’re communicating with your customers via a variety of social channels, those customers might come in and start to chat up your employees. The last thing you need is for them to be clueless. This is especially true if you are offering any check-in deals for Facebook or Foursquare.
But beyond that, your employees are among your best brand ambassadors. They might be the ones that have the most face to face contact with your customers. They are the ones who should be telling your customers and clients about your Facebook page, your blog, your check-in deals, etc. .
Additionally, your employees should be connected with you on your various social channels, and should be encouraged to be active with sharing and retweeting. After all, the success of the business is important to them. The more money the business brings in, there is less chance that they will lose their job, and even a chance that they’ll get a raise. I had a discussion with one local business owner who was frustrated that despite having several meetings and discussions about this with their employees, they still weren’t getting through to them. The employees just didn’t understand that they had a vested interest in what the business was doing online, and they weren’t taking ownership.
Your employees need to connect, invite, share, like, retweet, and so on. But often, they just don’t, because they don’t see the connection.
Everyone in your business or organization, from top to bottom, and bottom to top, needs to be on board. They need to be aware. They need to at least understand what your are doing with social media and why. The social media mindset needs to permeate the culture of your business.
How are you making this happen?
- 8 Ways to Convince Your Boss Social Media is a Good Idea (blogs.constantcontact.com)
- Small Business and Social Media: You Have Goals, Don’t You? (inklingmedia.net)
- Facebook is Not a Strategy (inklingmedia.net)
- How to Make Social Media Less of a Time Suck (spinsucks.com)
- Is Social Media a Waste of Time? (dannybrown.me)
- The Next Big Social Network (inklingmedia.net)
- The State of Social Media Marketing 2012 (dannybrown.me)