How to Sell Social Media to Upper Management

11 Jan

Social media marketing isn’t exactly new, but that hasn’t made selling it to upper management any easier. No matter the company or the industry, management cares about one thing: return on investment. To secure your desired budget allocation for social media, you’ve got to prove that it will produce positive return on investment.

How can you do that? By building a business case for social media that’s too strong to ignore! Follow these steps to educate upper management on the benefits of social media marketing.

If management still doesn’t “get” social media, start by identifying networks and conversations where you can add value. According to one recent survey of B2B marketers, 58% of respondents report LinkedIn as being the most effective social media platform. Twitter came in second with 24% naming it the most effective platform for their brands.

Perform searches for buyer-oriented keywords on both of these networks and bookmark the URLs of spirited conversations that relate to your products or services. For example, a medical device company might search for conversations containing the phrase “new imaging machine” while an IT services firm might enter keywords like “need an IT tech.”

The purpose of this exercise is to stop management from writing off social media as something that doesn’t make sense for your brand. By building a dossier of relevant social media interactions, you can offer evidence of opportunities to reach buyers on specific channels. After gathering this evidence, add it to a presentation or report that you present to management in an effort to make your case.

  1. Tie social media into your other marketing activities.

Social media will amplify your existing efforts to increase traffic and capture new leads, but management doesn’t know that yet. You need to show them.

As you prepare your case for social media, document the many ways it can help you meet other marketing goals. For example, it is now well established that:

  • Social media enables increased traffic from relevant visitors and more opportunities for lead generation.
  • Trade publications and their writers are almost universally active on social media, providing additional opportunities to form relationships with influencers.
  • For many B2B buyers, a vibrant social media presence indicates that a company is innovative, modern, and capable of providing valuable solutions.

Upper management already wants to increase traffic, connect with industry influencers, and provide value to potential buyers. Make it clear that social media is critical for meeting those goals.

  1. Show how you will measure success.

Management needs to know what success looks like. Thankfully, it’s possible to measure the success of many social media activities by analyzing specific performance metrics.

If your goal is to increase traffic to certain landing pages, analytics software can track the percentage of visitors arriving at those pages from social media sources. And if you’re trying to grow your email list or increase gated content downloads, marketing automation tools can show you whether social media interactions ultimately compel visitors to provide their contact information.

Some social media metrics (brand awareness, for example) are more difficult to measure. They’re still relevant to your success, but management is usually more concerned with data you can export to a performance report. For this audience, focus on concrete, measureable outcomes.

In the end, your objective is to convince upper management that not investing in social media would be a big mistake. Demonstrate how social media delivers positive return on investment, and it will be difficult for management to look the other way.


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