How To Win Buy In For Social Media

by Jason Falls |

You know that skeptical marketing manager, brand manager or even CEO you’re kind of intimidated by? The one who rolls his or her eyes when the word, “blog,” is used in a sentence. The one that is constantly asking for the ROI of his or her social media spend in a tone that makes you certain you won’t be included in next year’s budget? I think I’ve figured out how to win him or her over.

Last week I had a meeting scheduled with that guy. It was supposed to last an hour. Two hours into it, he had to leave for another meeting but wanted to stay and talk more. He was getting it. And here’s why:

While at first it seems like you need to talk philosophy and theory on what and why social media is and how social media works, that’s not always the right approach. Sure, the 30,000-foot, strategic thinker needs to have that perspective and it makes sense that going there first will help them understand  social media is a communications channel they can use strategically for their brand. But much of social media is mired in tools those high-level thinkers don’t understand. So, with this individual, admittedly after some false starts with different approaches, I started with the tools. The light bulb went off when I reached specific one.

“Let me show you ooVoo,” I said. “It’s a video conferencing tool that allows you to call people over the Internet, but also see them, share files with them and even conference in up to five others to have a group chat session. And it’s free.”

The client got agitated.

“Why haven’t you shown me this before now? I have a number of people around the globe I need to talk to regularly. I feel much more comfortable looking them in the face. Why are you just now showing me this?”

I thought for a brief moment and realized the answer.

“Because I don’t live in your world.”

The tools we in social media take for granted and use to make our own personal experience more efficient are likely those that can change entire business systems if they’re incorporated on an enterprise level. When smart marketing managers, CEOs and CMOs see what the possibilities are through technology and tools, they are better equipped to see applications that will help their business.

This marketing manager has a distaste for communicating with people sans visual context. He wants to see  your face. While ooVoo is a rather easy thing to download and use and it’s even a stretch to call it “social media,” it was the one piece of technology that made that client sit up and take note that I had a little sliver of knowledge and understanding of something that could really help.

I won’t stop preaching that social media isn’t about the tools. It is a method of communications, a channel not unlike or more or less important than public relations, customer relationship management, advertising, corporate communications and the like. But I am going to start people out on a slightly different path from now on. I’m going to show them how the tools can make a difference in their day.

How do you win buy in? Is this a better route? Is it dependent upon the person in question? A penny for your thoughts?

IMAGE:Light Bulb” by Jeff Kubina on Flickr.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).