Make Your Boss Community Manager For a Day

This afternoon I was reading a post by Jesse Stanchak on the SmartBlog on Social Media and came across a point he made about getting management involved in dealing with customers online.

I’ve written previously about how to best get buy-in for social media from your boss. After reading Jesse’s post, I realized that the list is missing a fourth way to get the nod of approval from upstairs: Have the boss be community manager for the day.

You can convince your co-workers and everyone in your cubicle, but if the boss isn’t on board, it probably won’t happen.

Jesse explained that when the manager or CEO is removed from customer interaction, it becomes difficult for them to fully understand what’s happening on the ground, and as a result your social media plan becomes a harder sell:

Your CEO can sit behind a monitor and watch the questions and comments roll in without having to worry about how their observation is affecting what people are saying. No one pulls any punches — but no one can throw any rocks either. It’s a window into what people are asking for, confused by, complaining about, praising and condemning.

I’m not suggesting sitting your boss in front of the Facebook page or online community, and then walking out the door. And I don’t think Jesse is either.

What we’re saying is that by doing this exercise with your boss, by exposing them to the thoughts, feelings and opinions of the company’s customers, the CEO or manager is gaining a frame of reference for the future.

When the time comes for you to appear in their office to present on some aspect of the company’s social media and online community presence, they will have that experience to look back on and hopefully be able to better understand the wants and needs of the company’s customers online.