Convincing social media skeptics

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Groundswell co-author Charlene Li shares tips on how to show your boss the value of social media

How do you convince someone who is skeptical about social media engagement that spending time reaching out to bloggers and influential voices on Twitter is worthwhile, especially in a tough economic climate when resources are scarce? Charlene Li, author of the influential book Groundswell, gave a talk on this topic this morning at the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco.
If your boss doesn’t read blogs, isn’t on Twitter, and tends to see social media as a minefield, it can be a tough sell.  Charlene pointed out that the best way to convince someone of its value is to first cut through the jargon: if he or she doesn’t use RSS, don’t start by explaining it. If you do, you’re sending the message that what you’re doing is technical in nature, instead of what it’s really about: building relationships. Instead, focus on demonstrating that your clients, or potential clients, are already using social technologies. Find people your boss knows who are tweeting or writing blogs. Build a case based on the idea that social media is a place to build relationships, and that your success can be tracked with hard numbers: how many mentions is your brand receiving? How many people are linking to, commenting on and reposting those mentions?
One common objection is that engaging on blogs and social networks will “open the floodgates.” To combat this, demonstrate that the floodgates are already open. Collect mentions of your brand or products on the social Web and share them with anyone in your organization who will listen. I live-tweeted Charlene’s talk here. Below are a few more points she made. What challenges do you face in, as Charlene’s talk was titled, “Convincing the Curmudgeon”?

Tags : social media

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