Many find their biggest social media challenge to be an internal one: How to convince your executive team of your social media investment. Here's some advice on how to explain your social media team internally, build consensus, and receive more recognition (and budget) for your activities.
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welcome to maximize your social practical and actionable advice on how your business control e maximize your social media presence. Now the host of Maximize Your Social, author of the recently published book of the same name and founder of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaefer. Greetings, everybody, this is Neil Schaefer and welcome to another new episode of the maximized your social podcast. Few weeks there where I apologize. I wasn't able to get a podcast out to you, as a lot of you that know me know that I like to keep it riel. And just as in your lives in my life, sometimes things get a little busy, and I am unable to stick to my podcast schedule. But when I am inspired and when I get the time, I always try to invest the time in the adding value instead of just, you know, churning out content because you have to. So that's sort of my theme for 2014 and I don't know when you'll be hearing this, but I'm recording this. The end of December of 2013 is really a go big or go home approach. If you're gonna make content, make account instead of just trying to churn out things on a regular basis. So that's actually not what the theme of today's podcast is about. Since the last time I recorded from Toronto, Canada of actually traveled both to spend Ah week in Japan on business, and I had the opportunity. Jack, Steve, is it the headquarters of both Facebook and linked in just a few days ago and today and I wish I had recorded well, you'll probably be able to hear some podcasts on Facebook and LinkedIn over the next few weeks. Intent little preview. But today I want to talk about some experiences I had in Japan and in Japan, A had a chance to meet with the social media. Directors of two. One is a very famous Fortune 500 consumer brand. Another one is actually one of the companies that is quoted in Maximize your Social, and I think at this point now it really depends on what level your social media program or your social media literacy is at. But my feeling as we end 2013 is look, everybody is doing social media right? I don't think, and yes, there are still beginners. But for the most part, the company's I meet are already engaged. They already have someone of a plan. I don't know if I'd call it a full on social media strategy, as I'd like to see, as I obviously flesh out and maximize your social. But everybody's doing it and everybody has a Facebook page and what have you? And it's interesting. The two different types of companies I see now I wrote about this is the final chapter. Maximize your social is, you know, social media for the here and now, or become the innovator. So one of the companies that I met, which actually is Lawson the convenience store which I quoted in the back of my book, is absolutely one of the most innovative companies. When it comes to social media that I've seen when there's a new social network launch, they want to be there, and I think in terms of the United States where I am, I think General Electric is the only other similar type of brand that I can think of, although I'm sure there are others that are just trying to innovate in every single platform available, and it's funny because this is a company where the CEO himself says, You know, we need to be where our customers are. We need to be innovative and we need to be ahead of them. And this is why they have this very innovative and aggressive approach to being were whatever platform their customer might be on. On the contrast, I met with this famous consumer brand and when I asked them what their biggest challenge with social media is, and by the way, Lawson is already thinking sort of beyond the social part in how to integrate social with things like Solo mo what have you And I hope that's gonna be a future podcast and or block post because I thought it was really indicative of where the industry is going, especially if you're in retail. But the consumer brand the biggest challenge they had. What do you think it waas? Biggest challenge is not the type of challenge that I hear from Ah, lot of companies in the States when I talk to them, although I know it exists and that is the challenge of selling social media internally, you have these companies that are pretty famous companies that have robust social media presences, yet they're not fully understood internally. They're running unlimited budgets. The people that are in charge of the programs would like to do a lot more, and they want to get a lot better understanding internally so that they can get more. Resource is and do more right and probably a lot of you listen to this air in the same boat. And this is you know, I'd say this is the biggest challenge you could have, right? Because you as no matter what you represent in your company, you can read books. You can listen the podcast. You can experiment, and I always say, Social media isn't rocket science. It was made for people by people on their four, when business has learned to engage alongside other people as people and offer value. I think you'll be able to find a lot of different ways to become more effective and achieve whatever objective you have, and there's a lot more tools out there that help us do that as well. But convincing people internally is the challenge because it really requires people to change their mind set. And when we think of people internally these air people, often in cos they are older people that have very firm mindsets. They were perhaps successful at a part of their career before social media even existed. And it's just like the launch of Web sites 20 years ago. It is something new that has happened. They just may not be familiar with the other thing, though, when compared with the advent of the Internet 20 years ago is that they probably were never injured by the Internet. But they could have been harmed by social media because maybe one of their Children used it in a way that they shouldn't have or something happened. And you just have to pick up the newspaper to read stories about that left and right here. So there's a lot of reasons why executives are fearful of social. They may be fearful of losing control or perceived control, although they obviously never had 100% control over their brand. But that's a topic for another podcast, and the other thing is just this lack of education of just not knowing right, not understanding the full value. So when I wrote, Maximize Your Social actually wrote it with the intent of both. Whether your executive or you're a social media market or or what have you. You'll be able to really improve your social media literacy and be able to see why should be investing. Maurin not left in Social Media But I wanted to share with you my advice for the social media director at this consumer brand as to how to convince people internally and knowing the challenge it really does come down to education is Number one in education can be done in a lot of ways. It's obviously sharing books. Webinars. What have you of, you know, trying to get your executives to better understand what is happening in the world of social and how it's affecting business? And there are reports like white papers like IBM about social business and others that have really, really good data. I once up Ryan Solo speak and he said something which I often repeat as well, which is that you know, CEO speaking the language of excel in power points. You really need to whittle social media down to data and case studies won't have you, and that is really the most convince a ble format. So any time there's a chance to educate and educate with data with white papers with outside authoritative third party Resource is that is obviously one of the best things you should be doing. The other thing you need to be doing is with in your social media program you obviously, whether you're asked for it or not, you should be writing reports right. You should be writing internal reports on a regular basis. Many departments have monthly reports. Weekly reports try to spell out what exactly you did over the last week or month, and what were the results of doing that? If you have a e commerce or a website component, what you d'oh! You know, whether your consumer brand or B to B brand, there are ways of obviously pointed out. Hey, this is how much website traffic we're currently getting from social. We saw some spikes from this content. We saw some new leads from that content. We got this one new customer that actually started out as a conversation from Twitter. What have you It's really trying to paint a very, very holistic picture as to how your social media program really affected. Ideally, your bottom line as clearly as you can point it out, and even if it's only anecdotal, and then be to be in, it may become more anecdotal. But I guess it could be the same and consumer brands. But, you know, even illustrating those anecdotes is helpful in helping to paint a complete picture of the effects of your social media program are having. Don't go on the Internet searching for Social media report template. Just as a social media strategy and calculating social media, our ally will be unique to your company in your company situation so well, such a report. But I believe you know when you can bring social media down into a reportable format, just like people from HR or Finance or other departments would write reports. I think it's gonna help your credibility and really get help you thinking about what your objectives are and how much, or how little you achieve them over the past week or month and what your plans are for the next week or month or for the next a few weeks, a few months in order to help you become better, I think another aspect of your social media program that you can try to convince your executives on is the competition and one of the chapters and maximize your social. Where I talk about metrics, I say that, you know, there were three different types of metrics primary, secondary and comparative, and this is where the comparative metrics come through. Now you may be in an industry. We're the pioneer and social, and that's great. If you're not the pioneer and social from a comparative perspective, it's even better, especially if these competitors are doing better than you in the market, you can paint a picture that shows Hey, this is what our competition is doing. This is what we're doing. We're playing catch up or we think we're being a very effective But looking at whatever you know, public numbers that we can get from what our competitors are doing, there's still a lot more we could be doing. So this paints a picture of number one, you know? Hey, you may not know it, but this social media that you may not want to invest in our competitors already way ahead of us. We need to invest more. Resource is and number two yes, we have a plan in place, and we are trying to improve our presence and social media. Visa VI our competitors. So it's always great for competitor Comes out with a What's Not Good, actually. But if a competitor comes out with a you know, annual earnings statement and they happen to say, Hey, we feel that Social Media played a role in earnings growth and your earnings are decreasing, this is another bit of data that always helps convince executives that hey, maybe we need to be looking a little bit more seriously and invest a little bit more in our social media program. So I've given you a few tips there. The education is really the no brainer the creation of these reports, the comparative metrics and comparative analysis that you can provide. And maybe you could include that as part of your reports or maybe a separate report. I guess the fourth thing that I would add would be, and this comes into the whole idea of the evolution of social business as well as employees advocacy. But really, you know, open up your social media program to your entire company, build allies internally, ask your HR people who are using social. How are using it? How can we work together? Ask your, you know, if marketing and PR two different apartments, you ask your PR people, Ask your sales. People ask. You know people from every department in your company, customer service Everybody is probably either using it or wants to use it better or wants to use it more. And I think once you can bring these people into your social media, which now becomes a true social business program, you begin to build up internal allies. And as you all work together and achieve more because you're working together, you obviously are going to yield Maur influence internally. And then it becomes this natural evolution. Instead of trying to sell social, Everybody internally is doing social. Let's try to put a coordinated program, a coordinated social business strategy, and I won't go as far as saying, creating a centre of excellence because I think that's a little overboard for many companies unless you're very, very far into it. But you know the question of Do we need to invest in social media or not? It becomes an afterthought. It really does become this infrastructure where I see you know most companies over the next 5 to 10 years. Moving that social was like a Web sites and infrastructure, something that you do. Obviously you want to be as effective as possible, and I believe that maximize your social provides you the framework to do that. But it's less about convincing executives. And Maura, about how do we really use this more effectively, internally and externally? Well, that is my tuck for today. I hope you found some value from it. Any topics you'd like covered on the maximize your social podcast? Please feel free to reach out. To me, it is the holiday season. So wherever you are in the world, I wish you the happiest of holidays and looking forward to talking you again soon. Bye bye, everybody. Thanks for listening. To maximize your social. We appreciate your iTunes subscriptions, ratings and comments. If you would like to appear on this show or recommend content, please contact Neil Schaffer at Neil at maximize your social dot com. Thanks for listening and have a great day