The following post was written by Heather Morrison

At a recent IABC social sedia event last week the discussion of ‘buy in’ was brought up a number of times, from various perspectives. The question seems to be on every communicators mind – How do you convince your boss/CEO that social media is worth being involved in? How do you get buy in? How do you decrease the risks, and allay their fears.

The first question to ask is: What is their greatest fear or concern?

Costs? This is an easy one. Most social media applications have very little monetary costs associated with them. The real resource needed is time. Many companies combat this by starting small (think baby steps), and working together so that no one person feels over loaded with work.

Making a mistake? More than likely every company first entering into social media will make a few mistakes along the way (close to 50% of initial attempts will flop). But whatever happened to ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try try again’? With proper education, these initial mistakes will provide a good base for future initiatives.

Negative Feedback? There are two types of kids in every schoolyard – the kids who stand up to rumors and bullies, and those who hide from them. While those who hold their heads up might take an initial beating, they will ultimately gain more respect than those seen hiding their heads in the sand. Not everyone will agree with every opinion, post, or decision that you make. That said, people will agree and/or disagree whether you are part of the conversation or not. Social media allows companies to enter these discussions, learn from what’s being said, and provide feedback and perspective directly to their clients/prospects. It also provides an opportunity to sculpt future campaigns based on raw customer feedback.

There is far more to be afraid of by remaining disengaged and distant from your market than there is by becoming involved. You don’t want to miss the boat and let the conversation carry your brand and reputation down stream (think Motrin, Walmart, Wholefoods, Kryptonite, and Hertz). As Matthew Ingram once pointed, “you need to have a presence in social media to have a voice when you need it. Don’t try to jump in during the fire!”

Heather Morrison is an Account Executive at CNW Group and has previously written about Israel’s Use of Social Media and about Building Your Twitter Empire here on BlogCampaigning. She is @Hmorrison on Twitter.

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One Response to “Nothing to Fear”

  • Heather — these are all very good points. I also think that in these “uncertain times”, having your ear to the ground and being on top of online conversations is more important than ever — now is not when you want a Tweet or a blog post to start a firestorm that destroys your reputation. Everything counts these days.

    I always enjoy your articles here and in MTW. Have you ever thought about jumping ship and joining us on the Corp Comm side?!

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