I was recently asked to speak to a group of business women on the topic of social media. Most of these women have been in business for years, and they know how to succeed. However, they wanted to know more about the social media scene, so they asked me to give an overview of the topic. I was struck by the knowledge gap as I was speaking, and I feel that as Marketers, we still need to make sure that we are educating business people about these tools. I’ve seen several blog posts about convincing the CEO to embrace social media, and I found myself fighting a similar battle during my presentation. So, how do we bridge the knowledge gap?
First, we have to quell the fear. Many business people are still afraid of moving their message online. They fear that their email addresses might be sold, that clients or co-workers may have access to private information, and that there’s no way to establish and decipher truth. We need to assure them that as connectivity grows, so too does accountability and integrity. Just as there are bad seeds in the real world, you will find bad seeds in the virtual world. But most entities will keep your information secure and site credible sources for their work. The virtual world is not a place to fear, but rather, a place to grow exponentially.
Once we’ve conquered the fear, we need to show the relevance of social media. There are statistics, case studies, and success stories all over the internet, so find and present the information that is most compelling. When business owners see how social media has impacted their competitors, they won’t want to be left behind. When they see how it has helped organizations that they work with and hold stock in, they will want a piece of the action as well. By helping them understand the future of business, you can help them figure out how these tools fit into their strategy.
Finally, help them strategize. Many business owners don’t understand that social media is a tool to advance their strategy, not a fad that forces them to change what they’ve always known. Social media is about connecting with people, so you don’t have to stop using your brand, message, and product. Rather, you can use social media as a way to expose these core components to many more people. When clients are ready to accept social media into their Marketing strategy, you need to be diligent in showing them how to use the tools. Help them create and monitor their accounts, teach them the lingo, and address security and ettiquette concerns. Every company may not need every tool, so help them evaluate which tools are most profitable for them. When you help them strategize, you ensure a long-term place for social media.
I was excited to speak on social media, and I’m excited to help implement social media strategies. However, I realized that I need to lay the foundation before I can build the house. And once the house is built, it’ll be open to the community!