Selling Social Media @ Work

Chris Brogan has a nice piece in the form of a “top ten” (or “top twelve” list) of ways to help “sell” social media in your workplace.  As someone who has sold it as a consultant as well as an in-house person, I can tell you that there is some good advice in the article.

My favorite selling points are:

  1. Blogging can act as a way to reduce customer service calls (if there’s helpful how-to information on the blog).
  2. Social networks are now used frequently by your customers, your prospects, and your competitors. Connect with people, learn their business needs, and respond more simply and flexibly.
  3. Blogging helps a business differentiate and establish a thought leadership position.

What I would add to this is the underlying resistance that I have found to social media in the workplace is fear — plain and simple fear of what people don’t understand.  You can be the social media expert at work, pushing blogs, Twitter, even identi.ca, but if educating the people that you need to sell is as important as listing some of the benefits like Chris did.

For example, explain that a blog is something that is about opinion — and there are likely thousands of people who are discussing your problems, issues and products anyway.  If you are not in the blogosphere, it’s like forfeiting a seat at a political debate.

Good luck explaining Twitter as a “microblogging platform,” but I tell most people that it’s a cross between IM and a very short blog.  I have found that by breaking things down into little, digestible pieces of information, then hitting them with some of Chris’ tips, sometimes you can push that rock uphill.

The benefits?

For example, many companies still pitch traditional media and bloggers (I promise I won’t get started back on the pitching bloggers thing again), but ideally, in a matter of seconds, if you could get a reporter to a) understand that you get how to communicate with them and b) get you pitch in the form of a “elevator speech,” wouldn’t you do it?

All of the above sounds like Twitter to me;  doing a search to find reporters and bloggers who cover your issues, following them to see what they write about and maybe — just maybe — they will start following you back.

My two cents.

Mark

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