With Social Media, Everyone Must Be On Board

by Ken Mueller on October 11, 2012 · 30 comments

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300px SOMAIYA meeting With Social Media, Everyone Must Be On Board

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.

Executives

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.

Your Employees

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?

 

 

 With Social Media, Everyone Must Be On Board
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25 comments
Digett
Digett

I was just discussing this with someone the other day. I think that because so many people have trouble convincing upper management to go for social media, they kind of forget that they also need buy-in from...well, everyone. Your CEO may be gung-ho about it, but he's not likely the one to be tweeting; more likely it's going to be Joe in Marketing. And if he's not passionate and engaged, chances of success fall.

texascopywriter
texascopywriter

Amazingly valuable article. I have a question for you or any of the interested commenters below. What do you think about setting up an additional profile or two on select SoMe platforms for non-exec level employees to engage with each other? This would be in addition to the main profiles set up specifically for building brand awareness, primary posting/engagement where all employees and public can interact.It's just a thought as I develop a policy and strategy for a new health care facility client.

KristaKotrla
KristaKotrla

You are right on, @KenMueller! LOVE this topic so much because I am one of the rare people who actually gets to work for a company that "gets it". Just a little over a year ago our company went "all in" with teaching the entire team how to participate in content marketing efforts. To date, 40+ team members (out of 70 in the whole company) are contributing content to our company blog. We also have team members active on various social media platforms. The results of making these efforts a big part of our company culture have been awesome and inspiring. 

@TheSalesLion helped us make it happen in our organization. And now I've even started my own blog to try and encourage more people how to make this happen in their own companies. 

"Everyone must be on board"... I'm with you 100%!

Jonathan Trent
Jonathan Trent

I totally agree. Everyone must be in. I think a lot companies don't have as effective of social media campaigns because they just hire a social media manager, and let him or her do everything. It's really important for upper management to be actively involved in social media for the company.

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

Ken, we need YOU to tell us how to get execs and employees on board... that's why I pay to belong to this club!

magriebler
magriebler

Not long ago I was able to convince upper management of the value of social media (especially Facebook) when our careful monitoring turned naysayers into fans. (Monitoring is KEY.) We're were in the midst of a PR crisis and lots of folks were beyond unhappy. But quite often unhappy people simply want to feel heard. The opportunity to connect with a real human being at an otherwise faceless organization can be surprisingly powerful. It got to the point where some executives would actually ask me, "What are they saying about (topic/issue/project) on Facebook?" Sweeter words I've rarely heard.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

Everyone must be on board AND everyone should stop pretending they have "Control" over their Brand. Turning the comments off is like putting cotton balls in your ears and pretending you don't hear.

Ornella @ Moneylicious
Ornella @ Moneylicious

I agree...everyone needs to be on board  with social media. Even if there's a negative comment made on Twitter, Facebook, or a blog, addressing the negativity can give a company the upper-hand.  Please it provides another avenue to connect with your customers, members, future customers, etc.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

The thing about small businesses being on social media is the risk of saying something bad about you on your Facebook page is so low, it's ridiculous not to participate. Of the 20 or so clients we work with, only one ever has anyone saying anything negative about them online...and it's because they're a large organization working with premature babies. So there is a lot of emotion involved. But every other client? The worst we've seen is, "TAKE ME OFF YOUR EMAIL LIST" instead of hitting the unsubscribe button.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@texascopywriter Do you mean as internal communications? If so, I use private Facebook groups for internal communication purposes. But also, I usually tell my clients to encourage their employees to be active on social media. Employees can be among your best ambassadors, but there needs to be a policy in place for how they identify themselves and use social media.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@magriebler that's a great story. I wish more businesses could hear that, and understand there is nothing to be afraid of.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@OrnellaGrosz It makes everything so much easier and more effective if you can have agreement and consensus across the board.

Digett
Digett

@KenMueller Indeed! Plus, the more people brainstorming and contributing and engaging, the better (provided there's some process/strategy around it).

magriebler
magriebler

@KenMueller A crisis can be a great opportunity to try something new simply because all the big guns are so desperate. We were up a particular creek without a paddle. Facebook gave us a paddle.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

@magriebler Definitely. Perhaps there's a guest post in there...if you'd care to write it...

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