Now that 65 percent of adults online use social media, businesses increasingly incorporate Facebook, Twitter, iPhone apps and all manner of other social media into their marketing and advertising strategies. And while some dismiss social media as a passing fad, businesses that fail to take advantage of it are quickly falling behind. Considering all of this, how can you convince your boss that your idea for a new social media strategy will launch the company into the future of online industry?
Educate the Decision-Maker
It’s not enough to have a good idea, you also have to know how to explain why it’s a good idea, and quite often this means providing a little background information in an appealing manner. Don’t condescend by assuming your superiors lack common information, but be aware of cues and prepared for questions. If understanding your idea requires familiarity with a certain technology, find an interesting or entertaining way to demonstrate it rather than dryly explaining it. If your boss loves golf but doesn’t own an iPad, using a golf app to demonstrate the touchscreen functions might be a good intro to your presentation on the application you aim to develop.
Provide examples, projections and, if possible, hard data about the costs and benefits of your idea. “I have a really cool idea for how to use Twitter” is a lot less convincing than, “I have an idea that will increase visits to our online store by 20 percent using Twitter.” In thinking about how to pitch a social media idea, make sure to think about it from the decision-maker’s perspective. What makes the idea appealing to you might also appeal to her, but you often need to go a step farther to demonstrate profitability.
Consider Existing Initiatives
No matter how revolutionary your social media strategy seems to you, it will not hurt to check in with your co-workers and even other departments about what the company already does to achieve related goals. If you want to use Facebook to launch a new ad campaign, you should be aware of any differences or similarities to existing advertising projects. If possible, your new social strategy should have a clear tie-in with the company’s over-arching advertising goals. Taking a collaborative approach will also help to further develop your project and generally improve its chances of success.
Receive Criticism Graciously
It is possible that the decision-makers will not accept your bold new social strategy. But if they say no initially, they may still say yes somewhere down the line. Be alert to any constructive criticism of your concept, and consider it seriously. If you can use this feedback to improve the concept or further align it with company values and strategies, then you may be able to win over your superiors and move forward with your project eventually.
Harrison Kratz is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the new online program which allows students to receive their aacsb online mba degree from the University of North Carolina. Harrison sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive.