During the “Better Ways” panel last week at SMX someone in the audience asked for advice on convincing big corporations to embrace social media marketing. At the time my answer was that there would be a lot of education involved and you should also let them know that you’ll be actively monitoring their reputation to make sure it doesn’t get out of control.
This was a great question. After thinking about this question and reflecting back on the obstacles our agency has had to overcome I have come up with a few more ideas on how you can convince your clients they need social media.
Take baby steps
Many companies don’t understand the power and benefits of social media marketing; therefore they will be hesitant to put any substantial marketing budget towards it. That’s OK though—you don’t need to dive head first into it. Start with something small to show them that social media works. Once you see some good results with something small it will be much easier to convince them to be more aggressive in the future.
Have an internal champion
Having someone on the inside of company that understands and believes in social media can go a long way. Decision makers are much more likely to trust people they know from the inside then some consultant on the outside. Communicate closely with these champions and give them the info they need to help convince their bosses. In return they are likely to let you know what obstacles you might have to face and overcome.
SEO has been around for over ten years, and yet it still takes a lot of education to convince some companies that they need it. Don’t expect social media marketing to be any different. Education will always be a big factor in closing the deal. Make sure you have a deep understanding of the communities where the company will be involved, what type of “return” they can expect, relevant case studies, and good rebuttals for their fears.
Big corporations are afraid of social media and for some companies, rightfully so. By getting involved in social media, companies are loosing control of their brands at some level or another. You need to reassure your client that you will be actively monitoring their reputation to make sure that nothing gets out of control. It’s even better if you can teach someone within the company to do the reputation management themselves. The communication will be much more genuine coming from someone on the inside then it will be from you on the outside. You also need to make sure that you have a clear understanding of the client’s brand perception and that you don’t put them in situations where they can get in trouble.
Social media marketing is still in its infancy and convincing clients to do it isn’t an easy task. These are just a few of things that have helped us convince companies to get onboard. What are some things that have worked for you?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.