I’ve had more than a few interested pings from people I’ve been meeting at networking events about how they should undertake implementing a social media plan for their company, especially if they have a conservative organization. When I teach my coursework on social media, there’s a reason why it lies so close to the end of a session: it’s a relatively advanced tactic, and one that isn’t going to work for you before you already have everything prior to it performing properly first. So assuming that your website, analytics, landing pages, email marketing, and search marketing are all performing up to spec, let’s look at how you’d get your company to start using social media.
1. Social Media is a Tactic: Define a Goal to Guide You
Tell me what it is that you want social media to do. As they say, you need a goal before you can set tactics. Social media is just another tactic in your company’s goal of “Make 5% more money in 2010″ or (more likely for many of us) “Earn as much in 2010 as you did in 2009.” You need to come up with a compelling way to show that you can use social media to help you achieve that overall company goal, while not being such a difficult to execute tactic that no one in the company has time for it. So are you senior enough to define a goal at your organization? If so, great, if not, then you probably want to:
2. Social Media is a Tool: Get Buy-in From Someone Senior On Using It
Speaking to the VP of Whatsis (I speak here as someone who has been a VP of Whatsis in the past) can be intimidating for people who don’t usually rub elbows with decision makers. If you’re not the head of your department, then start with them and talk about how you think your company needs to work on some social media planning. You won’t have the advantage that I do if you take this approach, since I’m a hired gun that companies–by the very nature that they’ve hired me–will take more seriously, but you can still get your boss, and your boss’s boss if necessary, to agree that something needs to be done about that social media thing. So once you’ve made it to that point, you need to remember to:
3. Social Media Requires Work: Keep it Small
In a conservative business environment, people want numbers. They want tracking. They want to know every detail they can about whatever it is that you’re doing before they approve the next step. In that light, it only makes sense for you to limit what it is that you’re doing at once. Don’t forget that you don’t have you social media like Facebook or Twitter for your company (although you certainly can!). Perhaps you can use a wiki as a project collaboration tool, or set up a password-protected WordPress blog as an internal company newsletter. With a little creativity it is very easy to demonstrate tons of savings using social media internally or externally as a communications tool. Once you’ve defined the scope of what it is you’re doing, then you need to make sure you:
4. Social Media Really Requires Work: Get Buy-in From Someone Junior
“Someone junior” could be you, of course, if you’re relatively junior at your organization. The fact is, if you’re a VP of Whatsis, you likely don’t have time to manage a social media effort all by yourself. So find someone who’s savvy in the ways of whatever tool it is that you’re using in your company, and use them to help grow your social media usage. If you’re that junior person, then go out of your way to include people in the company in the social media tool that you’re using. If it’s an internal wordpress newsletter, then you can interview people (or better yet, get them to write their own articles!). If it’s a project management wiki, offer to have a little class for the department that’s using it in order to show them how awesome their new wiki is. And finally, once you’ve done all that:
5. Social Media Requires Training, Too: Make Sure Your Team Knows How to Use It
Because there’s no faster way to make sure that your initiative will be irrelevant than if no one knows quite how to use it. Yes, of course, I could shill for CrowdTamers’ social media and Internet marketing education here, and point out that I can teach workshops for you on a wide variety of social media and Internet tools. Instead, I would suggest that you search the Internet for tutorials, both video and written, on how to make the most out of the thingie that your company is using to help achieve its goals. Most of the time, you’ll be able to find good resources on how to do what you want to, and if you don’t feel free to ask me here. I’d be happy to help. Above all else, remember to:
6. Social Media Takes Time: Be Patient
It takes time for social media to work its magic–especially in an organization that takes its time making changes. I saw someone write a blog post headline the other day (I do not jest) that said, “Businesses: Still think that the Internet is a fad? Well not anymore!” There are businesses that might still see the Internet as a whole as fine, but less the social media revolution. So be patient with your company as they explore what it is that they’re willing to use social media for, and recall that good things come to those who wait.
Have any questions? Leave a comment below!