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April 12, 2011 / jasonpinto

Convincing the Social Media Holdout

Let’s start this post off with two quick questions:

Q1. Can social media help you grow your business?
A1. Yes

Q2. Can social media have a negative effect on your business?
A2. Yes

Reconciling Those Answers

I recognize that Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. create opportunities for distracting people from tasks.  (Other things in your office that might also create distractions: the water cooler, the TV, the radio, the kitchen, the phones, the picnic table, the bathroom….  but you’re not getting rid of those, right?)

However, I certainly do not believe that employees should be banned from using social media sites during work-hours.

If you are fighting a battle to convince a boss, client, or associate to make social media a higher priority during their workday, you may certainly face varying levels of frustration. At times, you may scoff and stammer that they “just don’t get it”. You may want to dramatically emphasize that they need to just get on-board simply because “social media works”.

However, neither of those responses may change a stubborn person’s mind.

If we are looking to convince someone to change their priorities to reflect “how the rest of the world” is communicating, the following approaches may help:

Paint the Big Picture

There are still quite a few people who are looking forward to the day when social media will be declared dead. Perhaps they truly want the “next big thing” to come, or perhaps they hate everything that is new.

In a scenario like this, we must put forth the effort to show that social media has legs. Long ones.

Develop strategies and plans that help to demonstrate that social media is not simply an improv show. Rather, help them see that marketing fundamentals still apply.

Work with them to find the right target audience, to carve the right offer, and to develop the right personality. Help them to see social media marketing efforts have (and need) goals…. goals that can be measured and used as benchmarks. Increase their visibility to tools that strive to report on reach, effectiveness, and influence.

Once they see social media in the same light as other marketing channels that are considered traditional, the respect level for it typically rises.

Multi-Channel Integration

Even if a traditional marketing channel is bringing in diminishing and poor ROI, people may cling to it due to the fact that they’re comfortable with it.

“I’ve spent 25 years working with direct mail! I know everything about it!”

Discounting someone’s experience with a channel that may not be performing as well as it once did may certainly spell disaster.

Rather, we should find ways to demonstrate how social media could enhance the reach and effectiveness of traditional channels. If they are extremely proud of what they can create, help them to see how social media will help to spread their message, their collateral, and their hard work to a greater number of people.

“This is a Search Engine”

This is a shame. But many companies have been introduced to social media sites with this approach — “This is Twitter. You can post links to articles that you like (or created) for others to read.”

While people may see the value it that, their minds may immediately hop to this thought: “I will never have enough time to find (nevermind create!) content to post on a consistent basis!”.

In these scenarios, many companies would have been better off if they could see the value of sites such as Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn as search engines. Demonstrate to them how they can gain valuable insight and knowledge from their industry, customers, prospects and more.

We all love to Google, right? I don’t hear a lot of companies complaining that they wish their employees wouldn’t Google so much.

Thus, help them to see the power and benefits that they can gain by searching through the real-time intelligence that can be served up via social media channels.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Aaron Rains / Apr 13 2011 4:46 pm

    And those companies will start adapting when Google’s +1 starts affecting their organic search ranking.

  2. jasonpinto / Apr 13 2011 4:52 pm

    Thank you for the note! I am absolutely interested in seeing Google’s +1 feature starts affecting the search process. I actually just started using it today… I’ll let you know what I think!

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