Because social media’s commercial applications are new and still being understood, it’s easy to gain a groundswell of support from people in an organization who believe that the company should be doing this or that with their social media presence.
While that’s great to have, it’s relatively meaningless when it comes to creating the change that you, and the masses, seek unless executives number among legions of enthusiasts.
Creating change in an organization — often on a cultural scale when it comes to social media — requires a handful of executive-level people to be on board with your idea. You can get everyone in your department to love an idea, but if it’s presented to the CMO or a VP and they squash it, then it’s done for.
Last week I read an interesting post on the FreshNetworks blog that touched on the need to use the buzz and the enthusiasm you’ve created in your department, or among colleagues, and use it in your presentation to higher-ups:
While the main challenge may be getting approval from senior executives, demonstrating the value and generating buzz from the bottom up can show that there is not only a need for social business, but a willing and prepared pool of evangelists who are ready to encourage adoption.
There are ways to be strategic about how you involve higher-ups. One way would be to single out a few people who you know have a closer relationship to people in executive or management positions.
If you have to face middle management before reaching key stakeholders, finding someone in this level who is already aware of social media and it’s value can help improve your chances and can give you an ally.
The old adage goes, It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. In this case, both matter equally.
When the time comes for you to seek change in how your company uses social media, be the change agent that you believe they need. But also be sensitive to the fact that change doesn’t happen over night.
Have a plan going in, do your best to stick to it, and try not to get discouraged.
Photo credit: Camilla on Flickr