So, we’re all fired up about social media.
We’ve gotten involved personally, learned a little, played a little and seen the benefits now we want to sell it to our company. It’s important to drop the buzz words, think strategically and get ready to answer questions from doubters and decision makers.
Why do we need a social media presence?
• Increase customer base.
• Build awareness.
• Establish thought leadership.
• Educate customers.
• Customer-source part of your product development to try new ideas.
• Reach new channels of customers.
• Improve internal communication.
Manage Objections. (Thanks to Pistachio Consulting for the following excellent arguments which I’ve used alongside my own thoughts)
Here are five objections (budget, audience size, loss of control, priorities and uncertainty) and ways you can address them:
Before committing to any budget expenditure adopt a listening strategy to help people understand where conversations are happening online and what topics around your brand and services are being discussed. Arm yourself with evidence that people (Customers) are talking about the services you provide and your company is missing out by not joining in.
Don’t limit yourself to a new “social media” budget, and don’t even remain within the confines of marketing, publicity and other outbound communications. Social tools can make substantive contributions across the organisation —HR, R&D, project management, customer service, administration, IT
Taking this idea one step further, be as clear as you can about the value or potential value social tools can contribute within each of these areas. What can be done less expensively or more profitably?
The audience value proposition just does NOT work the same way old school “tonnage based” advertising via expensive mainstream media buys always did. You’re not just trying to scoop up tons and tons and tons of eyeballs, hoping to extract actual business results out of some crap small percentage of those that you “reach.” Things can be more closely targeted and more tightly mapped onto fundamental metrics of business success. “Tons of eyeballs” metrics at their best are usually just proxies for “a hope of selling more.”Three takeaways about social media/social networking audience sizes:
It’s Social media and social networking audiences are growing fast.
Even small audiences that are well-targeted or influencers are quite valuable.
Off-platform benefits.You’re not always just trying to reach the direct audience. On Twitter in particular, we see massive applicability and advantages in SEO, market knowledge, word-of-mouth “passability”to others outside of the platform, and as a content-generation engine the pulls together flows of content that can be displayed and syndicated using widgets and other RSS-based tools.
If you want to get a handle on demographics you might try using a profile tool like the one developed by Forrester. You can at least see what percentage of your audience are likely to be Creators, Critics, Collectors, Spectators, Joiners or Inactive and therefore gauge where your company can engage with its audience.
Loss of Control
You can argue that they’ve already lost control. You can argue that they never even *had* control. Instead, underscore the increase in learning. Companies can learn an incredible about of information about their products, their customers unarticulated wants and needs, how to make it easier for customers to buy, how to serve customers better, and THAT’S just talking about the customers. This magnitude and value of learning is also available for the engineers, the researchers, the manufacturers —compare notes, parse problem-solving, crowdsource and figure out more, faster.
Get laser focused on management’s existing business problems and pains. Apply the tools and opportunities you know about to the priorities they know they already have. Be very diagnostic in understanding and maturely articulating what could be achieved and how.
Don’t forget, this stuff can be really SCARY. That’s okay. Encourage them to take a flexible stance, to start dipping their toes in, and to remain learning-focused whether or not they are ready to jump in whole hog.
Yes, ideally, the company should start to respond and manage its message contributions as soon as there are issues to respond to. But I don’t buy that they should not engage in formal listening until they’re ready to engage in formal responding. In many cases, the longer they listen first, the better their response skills will be.
If something major breaks, by all means address it, but it’s MORE important that the listening period not be delayed by fears over how the company can respond. It’s NOT okay to clap hands over eyes and ears just because the mouth – and corporate mind – need more time to prepare.
Why do all of this?
The relationship between you and the reader is one-to-one. In time it creates a bond of trust which over time they share with their peer groups and keeping your customers close to you in economically uncertainty times should be a priority for everyone.
Contact the Better team to discuss how we can support your Social Media project. Better Brand Agency is a brand agency offering brand, graphic design, marketing, social media and social networking, web and digital services based in Tees Valley, North East and North Yorkshire.