Selling social media to your boss

April 18, 2011

Public relations, Social media

When selling an idea to your boss, how do you make sure you're speaking his/her language? (Image from












I was lucky enough to sit on a social media panel yesterday at the NAIA national convention in Kansas City. One of the questions was, “How do you sell social media to your boss? What’s your strategy?” Here are some of the main points from the conversation that ensued:

  • Facebook and Twitter have been a great way to connect with our fans. They’ve allowed us to build and maintain community online around our school.
  • Social media has really helped us connect with students and parents around our athletics and we believe it’s increased attendance at our sporting events.
  • We have a golf tournament fundraiser every year that we put on to raise money for our athletic department. This year, we promoted the event to our Facebook fans and saw more participation, donations than ever before.
  • We’ve seen other NAIA schools end up on ESPN because they caught a player sinking a 90-foot shot or fans participating in a unique tradition on camera. We carry one of those Flip cams around to all our sporting events so we don’t miss our chance to be on Top Plays.

What do you make of those answers? Could you pick out the unnamed goals and objectives within each one?

Selling social media is all about tying it back to something your boss cares about – in this case, goals and objectives – and backing that approach with research. But so much of making that sale is how you talk about it. Imagine if the panelists explained the value of social media to their bosses in the following ways using those same stories:

  • One of our goals is to connect with our fans and build community around our athletics, right? Well, social media can help us do that and we can make sure we’re targeting people who are predisposed to the sports information we’re sharing. GOAL: Build targeted relationships
  • I know…sooner or later, social media has to drive sales. Well, the more school sports stories we share – written or video – the more connections we hear from parents whose kids were mentioned in those stories and kids who were mentioned in those stories. And our attendance is up ever since we started using social me to share these stories, which means more people through the turnstyles at games. GOAL: Increase attendance, ticket sales.
  • For the last few years, we’ve been trying to raise $20,000 through our golf tournament. We’ve been close a few times, but never quite gotten there. But this year, we made almost $25,000 and so many people who signed up or donated came from our Facebook page. Goal: Raise more than $20,000 through charity golf tournament.
  • We’ve always said, if we could just get on ESPN, our awareness would go through the roof. Well, we’ve started bringing a Flip camera to our sporting events and we’re working to capture our top play so we can make it on SportsCenter. But in the meantime, we’re sharing videos on our YouTube channel and averaging 500 views per post, which is also helping us get our school and our sports out there. Goal: Increase awareness and get on ESPN.

The panelists that gave those soundbytes above admitted that they had to actually do some things via social media to show the value before they could tie their efforts to goals and objectives in way that made sense to their bosses. Sort of a reverse approach to showing how social media can accomplish goals and objectives. And that’s ok. Happens a lot.

But in the end, they and you have got to make sure you’re asking your boss: What are our goals and objectives? Get the answers to that question, show how social media can help achieve those goals and objectives, and you should be off and running.

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