Social Business: 2 Tips for Winning Senior Management Approval

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Guest Post by: Jon Stokes

So far in our social business blog series we’ve provided a definition of  social business and why it’s important in a commercial context. We’ve also looked at existing examples of social business by looking at a few social business case studies, as well as providing some simple, practical advice on how to succeed at social business.

In this final post of our social business series, we’ll look at how you can get the ball rolling in your own organisation.

Social business, after all, is really a re-evaluation of how communication takes place within a company. The difficulty comes from the need for a new company culture, and that’s usually dependent on top-down movement from senior levels.

So while you might understand the importance of clearer communication and collaboration, how can you convince the key decision makers that it’s something they really should be thinking about too?

1. Find your champion

At a recent seminar I attended about social media use in FTSE 100 companies, Bian Salins, Head of Social Media Innovation for BT Customer Service, commented that a strong personality is an essential requirement for encouraging a company to adopt social media.

Basically, Bian was saying was that you need to have a champion, someone who will not back down, especially when facing senior stakeholders who are invested in or unwilling to change from legacy systems and procedures.

If you have to face middle management before reaching key stakeholders, finding someone in this level who is already aware of social media and it’s value can help improve your chances and can give you an ally.

2. Find your story

Obviously, enthusiasm and charm alone will not be sufficient for your champion – solid evidence of why social business adds value is a vital instrument.

To do this you may need to start small. If possible,  get a pilot scheme running (which is also a good opportunity to involve middle management and find your champion).

While the main challenge may be getting approval from senior executives, demonstrating the value and generating buzz from the bottom up can show that there is not only a need for social business, but a willing and prepared pool of evangelists who are ready to encourage adoption.

If you aren’t able to get your own process started, then case studies of strategic social media use from other businesses are another way to demonstrate success and reduce perceived risk. Of course, it never hurts to highlight how it has been beneficial to competitors,but having the first mover advantage is probably more beneficial.

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