The Huffington Post published a great article by entrepreneur Michael Price this week. Price is a digital media marker and the author of What Next? The Millennial’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving In the Real World, endorsed by Barbara Corcoran of ABC’s Shark Tank (a television show we already know can teach us about social media, thanks to Dylan). Price hits on a question that we’re asked a lot by CMO’s and marketing execs: How do I convince my boss that we need social media/ that it will be a return on investment?
“I understand the hesitation bosses have in pursuing it,” Price says. “Once you get beyond the fears of customers speaking negatively about your business publicly, most bosses reject social media because they don’t see an immediate path to a successful conversion (traffic, leads, sales).”
So, what’s the solution?
Price says to do this: “Pull up a list of your competitors’ social media accounts and show your boss how large their social followings are compared to yours, and show them examples of how they are engaging with their fans and followers.”
This is a good idea for a few reasons, and one is that there are very few industries with no one doing social media now. There’s a plethora of examples that have never been there before, and it’s not a bad idea to capitalize on this. However, I would suggest walking carefully here. Don’t pitch these examples as something that your social media can automatically become, at the risk of unrealistic expectations later on. If all your competitors have 70,000 followers, you cannot assume that starting at this point in the game will make this immediately happen, so as you show these numbers, be very careful to detail the incredible amount of work, money, time and effort it took to get there.
Next, Price says to “ask him/her (respectfully) how they think their customers, distributors, retailers, investors, shareholders, and other key players would feel if they knew that their brand was at the bottom of the social totem pole.”
Chances are, the answer will be “not great.” However, again, walk carefully here. It takes time to climb that totem pole, especially when you’re the last one to the party and expected to catch up. This could also be a good place for some examples — how specifically has this impacted the ROI of companies working in social media?
Finally, “no one wants to be a loser, and with social media, a brand’s following is public. The bottom line is this, perception and social proof are tremendously important, and in this new digital age, customers, prospects, clients, investors, etc. are judging the validity of businesses based on their social presence. For the record, I don’t think this is fair, but it is what it is.”
This is often true, but is also absolutely industry dependent. Retail brands and lifestyle brands have tremendous amounts of pressure, but the truth is, there is room in many other industries for social media superstars in their sphere. Manufacturing, construction, banking, government agencies, and other corporate companies have wide-open opportunities to excel and grow in social media without an entirely oversaturated market. This is an amazing chance! Take advantage of it while you can.
Image credit: CC by David Merrett