Juan Sanchez
Jul 15, 2011

How to convince your boss to use social media

Juan Sanchez, community manager at Waggener Edstrom, gives pointers on how to convince reluctant bosses to invest in social media marketing.

Juan Sanchez
Juan Sanchez

How many of you have experienced the following?

You arrive at work in the morning and present to your boss a new and strategic social media campaign. 

YOU: Good morning sir, I have the big idea for a new social media campaign!
BOSS: Social, what?
YOU: Yeah, social media, our target audience lives there! The ability to target is amazing, we can engage with customers, easily and share content directly with the people who buy our products. Plus, it’s cool.
BOSS: Sorry, but we are a company, not a rock band.
YOU: Mmmm.
BOSS: Please, get back to work.

Basically, bosses are looking for three things, profit, numbers and advantages. Therefore, you should switch your arguments from “cool” to ROI and statistics.

What about starting your pitch with some interesting facts and figures by using the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action) model to get his Attention.

I always use the old “Did you know” trick:

Hey boss, Did you know that:

  • 78 per cent of consumers trust peer recommendations, only 14 per cent trust advertisements (Nielsen).
  • In 60 seconds, 695,000 status updates, 79,364 wall posts and 510,040 comments are published on social networking site Facebook (go-gulf.com 2011)
  • 177 million tweets are sent per day in the world (Buysellads 2011)
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest and twice the size of the U.S. population (Facebook and world population data)
  • While the TV took 13 years to reach an audience of 500 million users, Facebook reached 100 million in 9 months (Socialnomics 2010).

Once you've got his attention, keep giving him more stats and numbers but now focus on profit and ROI. It's time to hold his Interest.

Let’s provide him with some social media data that applies to the business world:

  • Social media now influences the brand perceptions and purchase decisions of 38 million people in the US (Businesswire 2011)
  • Companies like Dell make $6.5 million from Twitter sales (Guardian.co.uk)
  • Businesses such as MTV, Starbucks, Coca Cola, Oreo and Converse are engaging with more than 20 million  users every day (Socialnakers 2011).
  • Top social game apps earn the reach of TVs top-rated shows. The engagement of an addictive game has the popular culture impact of Rock and Hollywood stature (#Socialgaming Astech SF 2011)
  • In the near future, we will no longer search for products and services. They will find us via social media (Socialnomics 2010)

Now, it is time to surprise your boss and use arguments related to the endless potential inherent in the ability to measure everything and know exactly what the return on investment is. And, it's time to answer the question, "But what about our target markets?" Now he's on the hook, let's make him Desire

  • Most social networks provide you with specific insight and analytics modules to help you find out the number of impressions, likes, comments, top content and campaigns achieved. For example, Facebook Insights. Each campaign can be easily tagged and the results monitored on our website’s analytics software. Besides, we also can differentiate between the traffic and sales generated by our marketing actions and the results achieved as a consequence of word of mouth.
  • Metrics like cost per 1000 impressions, cost per click or per lead, cost less on social media than on the internet and much less than traditional marketing. Moreover, we can move forward by including new KPI’s such us engagement rate or share of voice that are more relevant and more directly related to our business profit goals.
  • On social networks we are able to connect with millions of users who are potentially interested about our brand and product. Social networks are like a marketplace where brands can straightforwardly engage with customers and prospects.
  • Consumers are now content producers, they now create content and talk about our brand without us having to spend any dollar. Now, we have to focus on telling something relevant (story-telling) and interesting rather than on choosing the media mix where we want to publish standard articles and spend a large part of our budget.
  • On social media, we can also implement listening programs and get valuable and real feedback from consumers and fans directly in order to improve our new products or test our next campaign.
  • And yes, our target audiences are on social media!
  • 50.8 per cent of the total online population in the Asia-Pacific (excluding China) region visited a social networking site in 2010, reaching a total of 240.3 million visitors (Comscore - World Metrix 2010).
  • Asia’s Twitter domination is reflected in the fact that it now accounts for nearly two fifths (37 per cent) of the world tweets, more so than North America (with 31 per cent of the total tweets) (ADMA yearbook 2011)
  • Social media's impact on consumer purchasing decision process is increasing, with online product reviews now being the third most trusted source of information amongst Asia Pacific's consumers, after family and friends (Nielsen 2010).

The last step is creating a powerful call to Action. Now is the moment to research some killer examples and campaigns and learn from them. Case studies are the best way to show your boss that everything is possible and affordable in social media:

  • 'Old Spice Responses' is one of the fastest-growing online video campaigns of all time. They  answered questions and ideas from the social media users through customised videos and scored over six million views for their videos.
  • 'My Starbucks Idea' – Starbucks has their own version of social network where customers were asked to share their ideas on anything related to Starbucks. The site gives users the ability to see what others are suggesting, vote on ideas and check out the results. This site is a brilliant and important aspect of Starbucks social media strategy. Users who are part of this network feel that they have some role in the decision making process of the company and it makes them feel like they are a part of it.
  • Toyota has achieved more than 10 thousand fans in less than a week (and after a month they’ve  reached more than 60,000 fans) for its Facebook page focused on introducing the new Hybrid solution (Hybrid Synergy Drive) in the Asia Pacific region. The cost is clearly lower than using traditional media and the message is more powerful because fans are learning, interacting and getting involved directly with the content and the brand.

Don’t forget that doing marketing on social media requires a strategic thinking as well. It is time to develop your own Social Influence System TM.

Finally, my last word of advice is that you, the social media markter, should try to adapt all those bits of data to your specific market. For example changing from Asia to your target countries or the case studies for some deployed on your particular industry.

What do you think now? Are you going to your boss’s office to have a chat with him about social media? My last word is you should!

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