Making the Pitch: Social Media and Senior Management

Social media “buy-in” from senior management is crucial throughout the launch of your networks, but also vital to their growth and success.  Like any “pitch”, it’s important to be concise, consistent and provide a call to action.  But, besides the basics, what’s going to help you when you are face to face with management?  Hopefully these tips will help:

Prove you can fix a mistake

  • As much as social media is about conversation, interactions, and engagement, it’s about transparency.  Show some examples of organizations that have made mistakes (they will happen!) and how they were transparent about the mishap.  Users appreciate honesty; it will add credibility to your accounts.   The point to drive home to your management is that you understand how to turn a mistake into a success.  Although an extreme case, check out this example.

Health content to health conversation

  • Explain the importance of two-way communication in the social media world.  Social media is not a pamphlet or poster in your local community centres; it’s not a bus advertisement or billboard.  It is an opportunity to provide engaging content to engaged listeners.  Word of mouth has always been a valuable promotion tactic and social media is just that! Conversation will help your message spread.

Prove its worth

  • Bring some concrete examples of how your organization will benefit from social media.  Seeing is believing.
  • Communications is changing thanks to social networking.  Residents are using social networks as their main form of communication, and this is evident in how media outlets are now using social media to break the news first, before their stories run.  If residents and media are using it, why aren’t you?  Conversations will happen about your organization whether you are on these networks or not.  My advice, be there to hear it and be there to respond.

Identify your champion

  • Social media is forever changing and your strategy will need adjusting along the way.  Take a look around the room while you’re making your pitch and identify your champion.  Hopefully, your champion will be able to assist you in attaining your goals for your networks at the management level.  Empower your executive champion with the big picture – what other public health units are doing, how this improves reputation and relationship management, and what this means for disseminating info during emergencies.

Be your best cheerleader

  • If there is one piece of advice to take from this post, it’s being your best cheerleader.  Show off what you do.  For example, send management a summary of media coverage you received through social media, a screenshot of what you are using, the reach of a few retweets, or a unique conversation between yourself and another user.   Sometimes, the more they see, the more connected they feel, the more at ease they are.

What’s your best tip for making the social media pitch to your senior management?

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8 responses to “Making the Pitch: Social Media and Senior Management

  1. I have a couple of recommendations, though truthfully, the list you guys have put together is almost perfect.

    First, honestly examine the burden social media will place on you and your agency. Social media, done right, is a huge time investment. If other responsibilities start slipping, you’ll be asked to stop. The best way to do this is to recruit a few people that can help absorb the burden.

    Another tip I’ve used in the past is that no only means no right now. If your executive is opposed to implementing social media, that doesn’t mean it’s verboten for you to do. You might not be able to have a work account, but you can use your personal accounts to continue to research best practices, target audiences, message tone and breaking news. Few things are better in this world than telling your boss some bit of breaking news before anyone else in your organization knows it. And then when they come around to seeing that social media can be useful, you’ll have updated target audience stats and profiles, new best practices upon which to build your campaign, and you’ve already identified the key super-spreaders, mavens and connectors in your field.

    • Thank you for the feedback…really good to hear that our experience is similar to your knowledge. Burden – so true. Selling the time investment later on is a more difficult pitch. The point about showing the value of social media by being leveraging your knowledge as a personal user really resonates with me. Especially as channels grow and change – you can often be re-pitching to keep up with the pace of social media (new platforms, changes to social networks, different ways audiences are using them). The only way to substantiate this is to demonstrate it with examples from your personal use or other like-minded organizations.

  2. Great post!

    I’ve also had success highlighting the reach of social media tools (e.g. over 6 million Facebook users in Ontario). If our audiences are there, we should be too! Like you said in the post, your audiences will discuss you whether your present in the discussion or not.

    Also, free hashtag tracking tools are great for demonstrating the power and reach of Twitter, and can help you define what “trending topics” really mean.

  3. In my experience, it’s the “conversation” part that scares people away. Especially when that conversation’s public! I’ve also found that a good old-fashioned guidance document can help allay fears.

    • Absolutely, I would say the same is true through my experiences. A guiding doc outlining not only how to respond but proper approvals is definitely helpful. Thanks for your input Jill!

  4. Pingback: Us at the Healthy Toronto 2013 Conference | Public Health and Social Media·

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