If you’re trying to pitch social media to your leadership, here are five steps you can think through to help you evaluate where your company stands with this media and opportunities to leverage it to the benefit of the business.
1 Look at social media in the context of your company’s communications landscape as a whole. Think about what other venues your company uses to advertise or communicate with employees. Don’t sell social media as the sole solution, but rather as something to be incorporated into your existing communications plan.
2 Plan for measurement. It’s truly no more complicated to measure it than any other sort of media. Think about measuring the effectiveness of a TV campaign now that there’s TIVO. Or the time it takes to get feedback on a printed piece that’s mailed to employees’ homes. And, even if you get, for instance, 30 percent of your management team to log on to your intranet – is that good?
3 Recognize that every generation is participating. What age groups are you reaching out to – there’s a social media network for all ages. Technology simply is less intimidating than it used to be. There are plenty of stats out there, but here are a few: One says that ninety-six percent of Gen Y has joined a social network. Another says that forty-six percent of adults participate in social media – and 25 percent of those participate weekly. The median user age for LinkedIn is around 40. I know grandmothers who use Facebook and kids attending webinars.
4 Capitalize on the fact that it’s a good M2W channel (although men are on it, too). Men are usually early adopters of technology, but in this case women are at the forefront. If you’re company has an M2W plan, then social media needs to be a part of it. An important part. I just came across a stat that 42 million women in America use social media at least once a week, which is 53 percent of the U.S. female online population. The most popular activity is social networking, which is done by 75 percent of online females. Second is any kind of blog activity (writing, reading, commenting), which 55 percent do.
5 See no color to reach all colors. It’s hard to argue that you can’t reach a certain demographic through social media. I’ve heard that more African Americans use twitter than any other group, but I also know that Hispanics and Asians are using social networks, too. If your business is global, then you’ve definitely got a mix of users whether you’re aware that they’re using social media or not. According to one study, over the next four years, African Americans will see the greatest percentage growth of online users, nearly pulling even with Hispanics. As of last year, just 46.4 percent of African Americans were online.
If you’re talking with a group that’s still on the fence, invite them to google the stats for themselves. They’re bound to find what most people find – that the answers are at everyone’s fingertips.