How to Convince a Company that Social Media is the Way to GoBy Alyssa Gregory
My previous post listed four common reasons why some businesses are hesitant to get their feet wet in social media. In order to convince a company – whether it’s one you work for or a client that you are working with – that launching a social media campaign is truly worth their time, you need to help the company’s decision makers get past these obstacles.
Obstacle #1: Lack of Understanding
In order to help a business owner understand the value of social media, they have to gain an understanding of the value of the Web. Gone are the days of business web sites being optional for any company that wants to maximize their marketing potential, and it’s undeniable that social media is moving along on the same path.
So the first step is gaining an overall understanding of the Web and the role social media plays in developing a healthy and well-rounded marketing strategy. An effective way to do this is by outlining the benefits you can expect from an active social media presence, including:
- Increased reach and new visibility
- Engagement and interaction with customers
- Improved brand recognition
- Ongoing market research
- Enhanced customer service
After a full explanation of the benefits, a great way to ease some of the overwhelm and lack of understanding around social media is by taking some of the mystery out the various social media outlets. Provide an explanation of the sites, how they’re used, how the competition is using them and specifically what they can offer the business.
Obstacle #2: Concerns About Brand Management
The concern that getting out there in social media means opening your company up to negative publicity is a bit inaccurate. The truth is that if an unhappy customer decides to air their grievances in a social media outlet, it doesn’t matter how active the company is; they will still be impacted by the publicity. If the business has an established presence online, however, it becomes much easier to mitigate the situation and employ some quick damage control.
Many times, this concern around brand management can easily be alleviated by introducing the business owner to some of the tools (many free) that they can use to monitor their online reputation, including some of the valuable data they can provide.
Obstacle #3: Lack of Time and Personnel
This can be a tough obstacle unless you are in a position to help the business owner devise a plan for beginning and maintaining a social media strategy, potentially even offering to take on the responsibility yourself.
Depending on the individual situation, you may be able to ease these concerns by proposing a plan that provides a chance to kick-off a social media strategy on a trial basis. If you can provide the business owner with some quick, relevant and impressive results from the trial run and a plan for an ongoing campaign, you may be able to conquer this obstacle fairly quickly.
If it’s feasible for the company, you may also want to suggest hiring a social media consultant or marketing professional to help the business owner create an effective social media marketing plan for their business.
Obstacle #4: Belief That It’s a Passing Fad
Social media marketing is not going away anytime soon. And businesses that choose to ignore the effectiveness of it will inevitably be left behind as their competitors thrive in the new online environment.
One way to gain understanding of the sustainability of social media is by reviewing statistics. A great starting point for social media statistics is, “Statistics Show Social Media Is Bigger Than You Think,” by Erik Qualman of Socialnomics.
Once you’ve helped the business owner overcome these obstacles, it’s time to get started. Stay tuned for my next post which will provide a list tips for small businesses who are just getting started in social media.
Image credit: linder6580
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