Social media is finally making sense to you, your organization, or your clients—and while there seems to be this undeniable itch to jump in head-first you know full-well that the powers that be don’t care about your fancy social networks. With that firmly planted in the back of your mind, you are still rapidly piecing together your ideas, charts, and slides to go to bat for why social media is going to change the way you do business. But like any creative pitch, there is more to it than the medium; there is the nuances of the pitch mixed with the hostility that accompanies early adoption. So let’s ditch early adoption, in favor of early achievement.
1) It won’t solve all of your problems—so don’t tell them it will solve all of theirs. Understanding that Facebook or Twitter or any medium for that matter are not silver-bullets to marketing will enable you to speak in the best interests of your organization or client. It is important to root everything in your social media presentations with direct impacts on business. A simple exercise for making sure you are on message is asking repeatedly, ‘How does this impact sales/buying decisions?’ If you have no answer, find one—if it doesn’t have a direct mathematical route to sales, move along. This is not to say that awareness is not a valuable marketing goal, it just might not be right for this audience.
2) Do your homework. Understanding that the majority of the C-Suite did not get there by being early adopters is a critical insight for any marketing manager or agency director. We once worked on marketing a revolutionary software/server combo for a small tech start-up here in Portland—as we looked to create lead-generating activities we realized that their main market, the banking sector, marched to a specific financial drum beat that often governs the C-Suite. A CFO of one of these banking institutions was quoted as saying, ‘We don’t want to be the first to adopt anything, but we don’t want to be the second to implement anything either. Our investors care that we are cutting edge, but still stable.’
Not being perceived as an early adopter but an early achiever is a fine-line to walk. A lot can be written on this topic, but for now let’s keep this simple. Come to all meetings with additional notes, and pre-load your meetings with research that you think will be relevant to your discussions. Be sure to address every question with non-declarative statements—instead utilize statements rooted in experience, research or considerations and provide them with the proper materials. Do your best to show them the work behind the plan.
3) Make your presentation a plan, not a sketch. I find that social media can be a challenging topic for some and even makes some people uncomfortable, so keep your presentation short enough that you can address questions as the arise without being short on time. I tend to cringe at any presentation past 10 slides, and certainly no more than 15 unless requested. At the same time provide at 2 slides that show significant detail into the nuts and bolts of your proposed strategy—the last thing you want them to think is that the meeting they are in is unfounded or conceptual.
4) Provide options for scalability. In my opinion, testing a campaign for scalability is one of the truest tests of any social media effort. Asking yourself, ‘can this effort be scaled?’ is not only a healthy step towards road mapping your efforts, it is also a necessary step in getting buy-in from the higher-ups. So stop thinking about a Twitter campaign, or a flash-in-the-pan interaction. Start thinking about a holistic marketing program that seamlessly integrates social media—that is truly what get their attention.
What are some of your tips? Care to share?