Pitching Your Social Media Strategy Internally

16 May

In news organizations, bosses shouldn’t need to be sold on social media’s necessity. In other industries, though, managers may be more skeptical. Hootsuite University addressed that issue in its latest video lecture series unveiled this morning – “Selling Social to the CEO” – available free for a limited time.

Greg Verdino, who leads the seminar, “delivers marketing consulting, executive coaching, and learning programs” for his own company. So while his lessons are geared more toward marketing than journalism, there were still some good nuggets to draw from the lecture, which you can watch here. (Though it’s about 50 minutes long.)

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Verdino offers four key points, which are explained in the video in much greater detail. Here’s how they can apply to a news organization:

1. Tie Social to Core Business Objectives: Again, if you’re in media, you probably aren’t selling the basics of social media to your boss, just specific strategies. To Verdino’s point, every strategy pitch you make should have team objectives in mind. These could be related to traffic, engagement, crowdsourcing or many other things. When selling your strategy, tell your boss how it will help boost the goals that are already in place.

2. Understand and Play to Your “Buyer”: I’m going to take the liberty here of changing “buyer” to “user”. Too often when posting to Facebook, Twitter and other networks, journalists take a “Look what I created!” approach. Problem with that is, users don’t care what you created, let alone who you are, they just want to know how it affects them. Put your work in perspective in a way that will entice them. This means more than posting standalone headlines. It also means knowing your audience specifically, which is more vital than ever if you’re in the hyperlocal sphere.

3. Get the Support You Need: This is about building allies. If you have an idea you know will work, you need to convince others of the same. Depending on how high up your manager is, he or she could be your greatest ally. If your manager is the top boss, meaning you’re essentially second in command, then you should rally some colleagues and people you manage so when you present the plan, your boss knows the whole team supports it.

4. Don’t Forget the Basics: For Verdino, this was more of a summary slide. He discussed keeping it short and simple, selling benefits instead of features, listening more than speaking, and other good points. For us (journalists), though, this could mean the basics of posting to and interacting on social media. Again, no standalone headlines! Also, respond to people when they’re talking to you – whether in a mention, a comment or a private message. Otherwise it’s like ignoring someone who says “Hi” to you on the sidewalk. You wouldn’t be that rude in real life, would you? There are many more social media “basics” out there, and this isn’t the place to list them all, but just know that they’re still important no matter how revolutionary your strategy might be.

I guess my only beef with Verdino was his referring to CEOs as if they could only be men. But I digress.

If you have any thoughts from the video or comments about my notes, please share in the comments.

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