Let’s Start Over with Them in Mind
It’s a typical conversation. Try to explain why the conversation with with customers has changed and often the person listening will tell you why he or she can’t listen. It might sound something like this.
Chief Marketing Officer: [confused, frustrated] I don’t understand why this doesn’t work. I’m an intelligent person. I should be able to do this. Why don’t customers behave? Legal will never go for this.
Social Media Practitioner: Let me tell you what to do …
Chief Marketing Officer: [Not listening] But I have a business to protect and employees that I care about. I know my market and I’m fairly sure what they want. I have to manage up. Where’s the ROI?
Social Media Practitioner: Let’s start over. … Let me listen first. What are your goals?
That last bit is the moment at which you will get the attention of a big business.
9 Truths About Social Media Big Business Wants Us to Know
Take a minute to to tap into the the CMO’s feelings of confusion, disappointment, and frustration. Everything that has made him or her successful is being challenged by social media and the Internet. Some of us find that exciting, invigorating, and inviting, but at times when we see our friends without work, it’s also downright perilous. Every marketing manager is being asked to succeed at things that have never been tried.
We sometimes act as if what big business needs is to learn from us. That’s where the misconceptions start. Here are some cold truths every big business wishes every social media marketer realized. By now it’s getting to a point where …
- Big Business “gets” that social media is not about broadcasting. They get that it’s about listening to customers. Great CEOs listen long before they make suggestions.
- Big Business brings an entire culture to the social media playing field. It’s a problem of training and re-processing, not just un-siloing and re-tooling.
- Big Business understands that we need to connect with individual solutions. Great social media practitioners offer a unique strategy to each company — one tailored to their goals.
- Big Business “gets” that content and networks connect. Yet, a social media strategy and the tactics that draw from it has to fit naturally and move slowly through a business culture that will execute it or the strategy will fail.
- Few big businesses undervalue their customers. That’s how they got to be big companies. The older and larger the company, the more they value and want to protect what they have. That they want to mitigate risk is a good thing. To value their hesitance can raise our game.
- A social media strategy is a business deal on which people’s jobs, people’s products, and customer’s satisfaction depend. Great social media marketers never lose sight of that.
- A business that already understands its community and it’s brand message knows more about how to lead a social media plan than we usually give them credit for.
- If you’ve not worked inside a company and talked to their customers, it’s naive to act as if we better understand how best to serve their national or international market. We can offer new options, choices, and opportunities that might suit them. We see from outside the system that’s our value and our flaw.
- Businesses dream about social media folks who do their homework, know the competition, and come to the process ready to join a working relationship.
“Great” social media strategies don’t mean much, if the company isn’t built with the processes to sustain them. You can turn a house into a houseboat without investing time. Great social media starts with understanding how a company functions and what is possible within the culture and the people who drive it.
The 2 Proofs Every Big Business Wants from a Social Media Mentor
So what does it take to get get the confidence of a big business?
You can overcome these cold truths with two proofs.
- Prove that you can connect with customers in ways that make the big business a hero, make the customers lives easier, faster, and more meaningful.
- Prove that you can listen long enough to understand the business, you’ll be pleasure to work with, and bring value to the process.
Want to teach social media to big business? Are you willing to prove it?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!