A big challenge today for managers and online marketers is convincing executives and bosses to do social media and blogging.
The big pushback from those folks is that there is too much freedom and potential for embarrassment or worse with sharing information.
We’ve all seen the companies that get into hot water because someone on the Internet staff posted inappropriate content on Facebook or Twitter or even on the company blog.
Those few moments of idiocy make it harder for all the good people to use social media with the freedom required to make it work.
If you’re struggling to get your boss to give you that freedom then we have a few tips. I’ve worked in a corporation where this has happened. That company was actually really open to things on social media and blogging, but because it was a larger company there was some pushback.
Here are the strategies you have to use to get the freedom you need to build an audience and turn those people into customers for your organization.
1. Create Frameworks And Procedures For Content
It’s hard to go to the decision makers in your busy ad-hoc to see if they’ll approve your content. It’s impossible to have someone check over every single tweet, update and blog post.
There isn’t enough time in the world for that. Everyone involved is too busy. I’ve seen businesses try and the result is that it might work for the first few times and after that the content stops flowing and the entire strategy ends.
The better way to do it is to do all the work up front. Setup a meeting with each decision maker. Get their input. Then go back to your office and build a framework for the type of content you’re going to create and share.
A framework is a set of rules that you can follow. Your boss is smart. He doesn’t want to look at everything you do and a framework gives him more comfort knowing that you’re limited by what you can share.
The framework might include very common sense items, but it’s good to have so you can review and so that your boss knows you’re not just sharing anything.
2. Find Relevant Examples And Quotes From Other Organizations
When you present the final framework you’ll have to make changes. That’s fine. That’s why you do this work ahead of time. It’s better to get feedback early so you know where your boss stands. It’s also a good comfort for them to see that they’ve hired someone with common sense, which is the most important part of this kind of work.
To make your framework even better, include relevant examples of what other companies have done with social media and blogging. Your boss has probably mentioned other brands in meetings. Use those brands for your examples.
Your boss trusts you, but it’s hard for him or her to take you at your word. Bring the social proof with you including quotes that other executives and company representatives have shared. This will make your case nearly rock solid.
3. Setup A Meeting With Your Company’s General Counsel
The other decision maker in the process is the general counsel or the person in charge of legal for your company. They are tuned in to all the potential risks that could lead to legal action including poor social media and blogging use.
Take your framework to the meeting. Also when you first setup the meeting let the person know what it’s about and give them time to review relevant cases and laws so they’re prepared to discuss things with you.
Bring your framework and examples. Have a discussion and revise your framework accordingly. This meeting is very informative and you’ll feel more comfortable when sharing information.
4. Collaborate With Other Departments
Another thing that you might not think of with social media and blogging is that other employees in the organization will watch and they’ll critique. It’s easy to sit back and critique when you’re not the one doing it so it does happen and it happens often.
It’s not the end of the world, but you can improve your social media efforts and stop the negative crowd a little bit by making collaboration part of the strategy.
When I worked at the ecommerce company I made sure to include the merchandising department in the social media efforts. These people had access to great information like the upcoming trends. It was like they were fortune tellers. This made for great social content including blog posts.
First, talk to the people that deal with customers like the sales team and customer service team. See what questions customers are asking. Then go to the people in the company that have the answers and turn those answers into social media and blog content.
You get better content and you include more people from the company.
5. Create Budgets And Report On Results
Finally, there are going to be expectations for the social program. Your boss should be somewhat reasonable since it’s a brand new strategy, but you can really impress him by finding statistics that lead to comparable information you can use to report on your progress.
Take it even further by showing how things like shares, mentions, followers, etc. can lead to sales and new customers. At my last company we always looked at lifetime value of new customers. We would take a loss on new customers for their first purchase because we knew they would purchase again in the future and bring long-term profit.
Don’t let a strict boss get you down when you’re trying to launch a social media program. They’re not going to just hand over the keys without having an idea of the type of content you’re going to be producing and sharing.
Use the strategies above to earn the trust of your boss or bosses. Once you have a framework it’ll also give you a little more direction on what you should share. It’s worth the effort up front because then you’ll clear the roadblocks and have the freedom you need to succeed.