Our final Georgetown U. Social Media for Social Good class post on the Groundswell deals specifically with Chapter 11, which discusses strategies on how to get social media improved inside the organization. Before I begin, a very special thanks to Charlene Li, who guest lectured last night via Skype (full photo set here).
Rather than comment on this excellent chapter, I’d like to offer our experiences working with organizations to get social media approved. At some point, all nonprofit, corporate and government social media efforts require approval. While most executives understand that social media has become a must have in the larger media environment, many organizations still view it as experimental marketing. In large part, that’s because most of them fail in their initial self-started efforts.
So, that being said here are some tips to getting your boss to say OK. This post is in the form of tactics or ways to nudge the process along. Several Twitters also weighed in and their answers are included. Thanks to Andrew Wright, nishland, Philip Zorn, Larry_Slo, Chris Allison, Robin Yasinow, Chris Gasparro, and Mark Chrisman.
First off, we recommend using a pilot project to get through the door. Reticence is often conquered by a win, and the best way to provide a win is via a pilot project. Tips to ensuring you choose the right pilot project:
- Begin with some form of listening or monitoring. You must be in tune with your social web community if you want this to work. Hopefully you are doing this before you begin, but just in case…
- Simple and relatively low cost is good. When there is fear involved, an easy, relatively affordable project is an easy thing to sign off on.
- Short timeframes help, too. You want to make this a quick test.
- Make sure you have a measurable goal. Look at your strategy, it will tell you exactly what to measure. You must be able to attain ROI. That is why attaining something worthwhile is essential, whether it’s micro-donations, market intelligence, feedback on a new product, click-throughs to a store, registrants for a value added webinar, or some other measurable result. You must be able to declare victory.
- You have to feel confident that you can attain said goals. Make sure it’s doable. It may be worth bouncing off someone else who has more experience.
- Common Objections
People who are skittish often demonstrate their reticence by throwing out objections. Here are some of the more common ones and methods to handle them.
2) If they believe you need to publish on Facebook or a blog, and that’s not what you’re recommending, focus on the stakeholder (e.g. donor, customer, advocate), not the tool. It’s all about where your community is. Find them before you meet with executives, and understand what they care about. Bring evidence with you. A blog or Facebook group is often not the answer.
3) Our community isn’t out there is a common objection, particularly for any stakeholder group over 30 years old. Show them real conversations over a significant period of time that the stakeholders are having – without the organization. My favorite way to do that is to type relevant key words or the corporate name on search.twitter.com. Another method is to use market research countering those misconceptions.
4) Control. They don’t want to engage in negative comments. There may be little you can do about this, but I always like to show folks 1) that people are already talking negatively about them and 2) tangible evidence through prior case studies that direct engagement actually reduces negativity and builds relationships.
5) Invented here syndrome. I remember serving as in-house communicator. We may have had some fantastic ideas, but sometimes because it came from the in-house department executives were skeptical. That’s when you trot in a friend or a bonafide consultant who has outside experience. Let them tell your executives the facts and set them straight (so to speak).
I know we’ve got a lot of experienced readers out there. What would you add to this post for our students?