Getting buy in on social media
I was just reading the blog post by Mike Wise on getting executives to “buy in” to social media – and it made me think to post up my thoughts on this here as it is something I deal with all the time.
I spend a lot of time with executives talking about social media. And I am often brought into board rooms to help the executives understand what social media is and look at it to see if it can help them in their particular field.
To get the “buy in” (I don’t like that word, but it fits the bill), I feel I need to look at it from their perspective. I take time to show them that there are good ways to use these things – and the four pillars – blogging, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – are simply tools that will make it easier to communicate with other people. Just like when websites came in. Or emails became the norm. Or Blackberrys took over the insurance world.
Also I think because I am in my mid-40s that my age makes it a bit easier – I am young enough to touch the young people who live and breathe this stuff, but old enough to explain it in a way that makes sense to the over 50s. I see my job a bit like a translator – turning difficult-to-understand concepts for the executives into something they can get. I am also not an evangelist (or try not to be) but try to show them real business reasons why they should do it.
Make social media relevant to the executives
When I talk to executives I try to see it from their angle, age group and demographic. Which is why I try to find examples of people in their age bracket doing this – I often cite the authoress Margaret Atwood on Twitter, and chairman of Marriott Hotels Bill Marriott’s blog.
Talking risk management is always a winner
And I always talk about risk management. For me, this works as this is a topic they understand and it makes them sit up. I deal with executives, lawyers, chairmen, managing directors, CEOs, chief operations officers, marketing managers, heads of digital… it is a long list – and a diverse group – but they all understand about risk management – after all I work in financial services and if the insurance and reinsurance guys don’t get risk management, well…
This is a blog I wrote about the risks of not being on Facebook – which is an easy to understand argument for executives.
Some starting tips for executives on social media
Knowing they need to at least bookmark their names is at least a start. And once that is done, they can see the point of a strategy – a slow build up in tandem with their marketing and communications messages – with everything being approved beforehand. Once they are more comfortable with it and can see the benefits, such as an increase in traffic, more mentions in the press, then they will put more resources into it.
Industry specifics and humour are good tactics for online success
Humour works well too. The Actuary Song now has 11,800 hits.
Being industry-specific helps too – show them what their rivals are doing – both well and badly. And then you need to tell them what it can cost – this ranges from $0 – where they do it all in-house and the only cost is the time put in to $1 million – if you want an all-bells and whistles one. They need to find a budget they are comfortable with before they can go ahead and start looking at strategies that will work. Once this is established, the process is much easier to manage.
If trying to create a better online presence is still giving you issues, feel free to contact our online insurance PR team and we’ll help out where we can.