Friday SXSW '09

My Boss Doesn’t Get It – Championing Social Media to “the Man”

Friday, March 13th at 02:00 PM
Miles Sims – Small World Labs
Peter Kim – Dachis Corporation
Michael Wilson – Small World Labs
Rebecca Caroe –
Christian Caldwell – Small World Labs/American Heart Association

When pitching, "the man" is the person with some sort of budget authority.

Why is it going to make sense?
How much does it depend on standard ROI? There is a measurable return of some sort. Reach is probably the biggest metric that is achievable. It can internally include the entire organization, and not just communications to get the messages out.

How is ROI Demonstrated?
6 weeks to create a plan to present to the board. Again, the important metric is "reach." Where is the value you want for your organization? It isn’t always in dollars, or concrete. This is what can drive other metrics though. Honestly, you can make an ROI say anything.

What Metrics?
First, what areas need it? Departments? It can be a way marketing/communications and IT can come together to save expenses. It can help with customer retention, employee retention and support.

Non-financial Considerations

  • Many times the questions come after it’s been out.
  • How does this help my customers?
  • What dedicated resources can we (the company) put towards this?
  • How can we show small successes?
  • What is the company culture? Can you handle loss of control (especially negative)?

What about Legal?

  • Guidelines: Don’t be stupid! (see MS blogging policy)
  • Legal wants to reduce all risk to zero – so there is a balance.

How do you get executive buy-in?

  • Some are under the radar
  • You can get some to buy-in and help with the rest of the company
  • Helps if the competition is doing it

There are many misconceptions out there, getting people educated is important to kill the misconceptions early on.


What do you do when social media creates a culture change or it requires one to be effective?
-Show small successes and demonstrate the changed culture.
-Learn from failures – it helps if others see what doesn’t work.

When championing a social media project ho do you pitch?
-Play to the psychology you’re pitching to
-Find out individual motivations and pitch to appropriate groups.

-When you open it up, make sure you have reasons to handle the influx (many videos coming in at once needing review before going up).
-Sometimes recruiting the worst curmudgeons and find out what interests them, then find the best way to get that information out there (possibly through social marketing, but ease them into it).

How do you ensure projects are successful?
-Ongoing evolution – this isn’t a short term game – to change culture
-Build communities and cultures and have/support ongoing conversation.
-"If you can measure it, you can manage it" – set expectations at the beginning

Top Challenges to get approval?
-be realistic, keep it simple, show the business value

Top way to ensure success?
-good planning – who you want to reach, tell results back to everyone, build a culture in the community and monitor it – what are the metrics – define them up front.

What if "The Man" is corporate communications?
-Find their peer group, and show other are doing it (subtle).

Aside from money, what demonstrates success?
-recruiting new prospects details (valuable
-speed of research using the crowd
-Money IS the bottom line