Enterprise Social Media: What NOT to Say when Convincing Management

One of the most common obstacles blocking organizations from adopting an enterprise social media strategy today is lack of understanding of social media at a management level. Because of this, many social media advocates have a hard time getting key decision makers to even consider the idea of a social media strategy.

The real problem here is that social media supporters are approaching management incorrectly and using the wrong language. For management to really listen, you need to speak to them in their language.

If you want your management to adopt a Social Media strategy, DO NOT SPEAK ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA!

Understand Management Objectives

Managers are driven by very specific goals. By understanding what these objectives are, you can frame your enterprise social media pitch in a way that addresses their objectives.

For example, most management teams are concerned with improving customer support and establishing recurring revenue. Furthermore, they want to achieve both by spending as little of their budget as possible.

Using these two example objectives as the foundation for your argument, you can now start to build case for enterprise social media that management will listen to.

Link Objectives to Internal Requirements

Most likely, your management team already has a plan in place to meet their core objectives. Using the example objectives from the last section, there is a good chance that they are also focused on:

  • Eliciting a higher level of responsiveness from employees without increasing salaries or renovating/re-organizing the work space
  • Improving marketplace reputation without pouring more resources into expensive advertising and direct marketing campaigns
These internal objectives now provide us a real opportunity to form an argument that really speaks the language of upper management.

Show How Social Media Addresses Objectives and Requirements

The key now is to link the objectives and key focus areas discussed above to the abilities of an effective enterprise social media strategy. For example, a few potential arguments are:
  • Social media can act as a powerful support application for existing customers. This can reduce customer care costs and spark social conversation throughout the customer experience.
  • Social media can empower employees and allow them to access knowledge from the entire employee community, regardless of geographical location.
  • Social media can facilitate training sessions and allow participants to easily interact with course material and fellow participants.
  • Social media can bring customers closer to the company by facilitating the feedback process. This leads to faster learning and instills trust in customers, resulting in a positive reputation lift.
The difference is that the arguments in this list speak directly to what management is trying to accomplish and what is in the forefront of their strategic minds. By taking this approach, you capture the interests of upper management and allow the enterprise social media exploration phase to begin.


Opened by Antoine Fournier, Head of ECM, Input and Output management, Zurich Insurance
Feb 26, 2013.

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Roz Bennetts B2B Sales, B2B Sales Professional
Feb 28, 2013

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I think you've got it nailed Antoine.

IT Managers that are so in tune with their firms business that they live, breathe and embrace it will have no problem selling these ideas to management. They would naturally align their efforts and pitch with the goals of the company and think to support their arguments with statistics and case studies of competitors and the like.

Where IT has always struggled, (and probably always will) is that there is a tendency to like technology for technology's sake and for want of a better word a slight geek mentality. Obviously you need geeky types to do the technical specifications, planning, implemetation and support of these platforms but the role of the IT chief is to speak the language of business and not technology when it comes to addressing his/her peers.
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