Most social media people get deeply disappointed when their brilliant proposals don't get funded in the budget process. They're convinced that SM represents the chance to reach out to customers, give them a voice, and let loose the dogs of advocacy. But the CFO and other top team members rarely buy it. Why?
Find other ways to explain yourself - and make maximum effort to do a Dr Dolittle by speaking in languages CEOs, COOs, and CFOs understand. Blogs are a "set of discussions and opinions" that allow customers to respond and present their point of view. A wiki lets "experts contribute information" that is available to all.
A little bit of effort goes a long way - I once explained to a CFO who was an enthusiastic DIY man that "information architecture is a bit like the peg board above your work bench with stencilled places for all your tools". He got it immediately.
- Extending existing functions:
Listening = Research,
Talking = Marketing,
Energizing = Sales,
Supporting = Customer Support, and
Embracing = R&D (New product development)
If you're thinking the words in bold italics, then this secret decoder key tells you to use the functional descriptors. And once you start using familiar language, the metrics should be self-apparent. So use them.
- Recognize you're changing the culture:
SM requires companies to embrace two-way conversation instead of one-way messaging. That's a huge challenge for most firms, and runs against most corporate cultures. Understand this, and find ways to re-define the change in terms of the words above. You're not going to get full transparency first time around, so get over it.
- Point to Success:
There are long lists of who's doing what in the SM space, and plenty of big companies. Someone told me about Peter Kim's list - it's a great start. Search around for some case studies and press releases about some of these initiatives, and point out a few in your proposal. It's even better if you can find some stuff that your competitors are doing.
Thought for the Day: Your proposal won't get funded unless you figure out how to explain it to decision-makers. Think about that in as much depth as your brilliant idea.