To most modern corporate communicators it’s obvious why companies need to be using social media to engage with customers. However, some senior level executives, even the CEO, may need to be convinced of social media’s positive influence on B2C relationships and customer engagement. Just like any other company project, social media needs your CEO’s support to be completely successful. This is where you come in. Explain the endless benefits of incorporating a social media strategy into your company’s business plan, and the potential consequences of not getting involved. In his post about change management and social media, Michael Murray suggest you do your research before approaching your boss. Don’t just tell him, show him evidence of how other companies in your industry (your competition) have benefited from using social media to interact with customers. Whether it’s increased sales, customer service ratings or reviews, the proof is out there and undeniable.

Don Bulmer’s post about why business leaders should care about social media, points out that millions of people are sharing content and information though social media every day, looking for positive experiences. It’s most important for your CEO to understand those experiences in social media and the effect those experiences could have on your company. Both positive and negative experiences with your brand can travel worldwide overnight. This is why you should want to be in control of your own social media, making it possible for you to create positive experiences for your customers that they can, and will, share.

Soren Gordhamer touches on some ways that social media changes business and business objectives. One of these changes is a shift from the sell, sell, sell, mindset to making connections and building relationships regardless of profit. Actually, the companies that really understand social media use their sites mostly to learn about customers and talk about the company, rather than push their products. The Old Spice campaign, discussed in post three, is a good example of this.

Customers are now using social media to connect with companies in a personal way, which is why companies need to be responding with the same helpful, personal communication rather than large promotions. This change has caused companies to focus on smaller projects, rather than huge campaigns, and tweet personal things, instead of official company statements. Inevitably, engaging with customers and building relationships has forced companies to focus on being transparent rather than controlling their image.

If enhancing the user experience and building relationships with customers doesn’t convince your CEO, try emphasizing the positive effects social media could have on other aspects of business like revenue, savings, employees and internal communication. In Nick Shin’s post on why businesses should use social media, he mentions the low costs of a social media presence compared to the price of traditional campaigns. As I mentioned in post four, Dell generated $6.5 million from it’s Twitter presence alone, and that’s just one example. Not to mention social media gives your company a way to monitor its competition at no cost!

Although traditional media will always have its place, social media is allowing for conversation and interaction between businesses and consumers that was never possible before. Companies can choose to remain hidden and inaccessible, or take advantage of the opportunity to be transparent and personal with customers using social media. If you don’t get involved you risk losing your customers to competition that IS engaging with social media.

Remember: everybody’s using social media, you should to.

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