From the few to the many: a quest for social media buy-in

Like any new form of marketing, there was plenty of trepidation when social media began to go mainstream. And some senior executives still feel the jury is out when it comes to investing large chunks of budget in it. They want to know how it’s going to feed back into the business, and rightly so. So while the first phase of social media—the one where people jump online and create profiles—has already happened, companies are still figuring out how to make the central theory behind social media (conversation, not broadcast) relevant to the entire business.

When getting buy-in from other areas of the business, it’s important to stick to one of the maxims of social media—sharing. Is it better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission? Indeed, that was probably more true a couple of years ago when general knowledge about social media was a lot more basic. Now, most people have an understanding that social media can help their business.

These days, it’s normally better to tell people in other departments what you are doing, step by step, so they feel included. This doesn’t mean explaining why you prefer Posterous to Tumblr; it’s about a collaborative approach. There are also many other benefits to sharing what you’re doing with as many people as possible. For example, you may not have thought of an idea because your head is too buried in the nuances of what you’re saying on the company Facebook page that day. It’s easy when you’re working in marketing, PR or advertising to forget about other equally important facets of the business.

They are a few quick wins if you’re still struggling to get past first base in convincing people about the importance of social media. One is demonstrating the real-time nature of online communications. Use Google Alerts, TweetDeck and other tools to give small examples of the larger and wider conversations happening. And don’t just show the conversations around the brand name itself. You should also highlight the frequency and relevance of keyword conversations around the brand and also the competitors. Go beyond the expected and you’ll see others show more of an interest in what you do.

Deloitte Australia are global leaders, not only in getting buy-in from the right people, but in empowering employees across the organisation to get involved and share knowledge with each other. The company has succeeded with social media to the extent that it is now quoted as a case study on best practice as often as any other corporate brand. One by-product of this success is that it has created marketing about marketing. People talk about Deloitte more than its competitors, often just referencing how good it is at enterprise-wide social media, as opposed to talking about accounting.

But how did Deloitte achieve this success? It first started with briefing senior executives from its global management team as to the benefits and ethos behind social media. It then empowered employees across the business, in a similar way to Dell, to get involved and share knowledge with each other and the world at large. One tool it used to achieve this was Yammer, the internal social media platform. According to recent news, Yammer now has over 80 percent of the Fortune 500, which shows how it has grown to be a really central part of internal communications. Youtube Video

To hear more about Yammer and selling social media within the business, come and hear Louse Denver, director of media and communications for Deloitte Australia at Social Media Junction: www.socialmediajunction.co.nz.

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