Picture this scenario: You’re sitting in a chair in front of your boss’s desk, eager to pitch your idea of using social media to engage prospects and market your brand.
The only thing standing in the way of the idea seeing the light of day is the person in front of you – a hardened executive whose facial expression says she can’t wait to say “no.” Your palms are sweating as you realize you’re not prepared to defend your position.
Don’t let this happen to you! We’re going to help you prepare for the inevitable confrontation (and win) by outlining 4 ridiculous arguments against social media marketing and how to respond to each.
1) “Our prospects don’t use social media”
This is probably the first argument you’ll hear, especially if you’re a B2B company. And while no industries engage on all the social media platforms out there, you can be certain that most every industry does engage on the two or three platforms that make the most sense for them.
How to respond
Perhaps the #1 social media platform for B2B industries is LinkedIn. As the “professional-only” site (you won’t see pictures of lattes or comments about cats ), millions of people use LinkedIn, and millions of brands, too, through its Company pages.
First, log into LinkedIn at your boss’s desk; take him or her to LinkedIn Groups. Now, type in whatever your primary prospect’s industry is. From avocado growers and agricultural groups to zen masters and xylophone manufacturers, you’ll find more professional groups represented than you care to know about.
Tell your boss that by joining the LinkedIn Groups relevant to your product or service (and depending on the criteria set up by the Group’s administrator), you can begin contributing to discussions and commenting on posts with valuable information of your own.
Note, however, that spammy comments, sales pitches and irrelevant input is not tolerated. Be genuine, be smart and be aware. Engagement must be authentic and helpful to Group members or you could be asked to leave. When you join a Group and contribute wisely, you’re establishing credibility and value.
Next, take your boss to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to find your company’s “Top 10” prospects. Many, if not all, of them will have a presence on one or the other where they interact with their customers, prospects and partners. If your prospects are on social media, that tells you (and your boss) that they’re accustomed to that way of communicating and understand its value; it also tells you that you’re behind and need to establish a presence of your own!
2) “None of our competitors use social media”
This isn’t a good argument for a number of reasons, the first of which is the general “me too” nature of it. Even if your competitors aren’t on social media (they are), being first on the scene is an opportunity to stand out, and one that keeps you from playing catch-up. It means you’re a big fish in a pool of prospects searching for valuable information that could help them grow their businesses. The earlier you get in, the better your chances of making a mark and establishing your expertise and credibility – without a lot of clutter to get lost in.
How to respond
If your brand is the “first one in,” it won’t be alone for long. Download and show your boss HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing, which clearly shows that social media marketing is on the rise. Here’s just one of many statistics: Twenty-three percent of marketers invested in blogs and social media during 2013, up from 9% in 2012. That 23% is also expected to go up through the roof as we enter 2014.
You can also prove that, in fact, competitors are on social media simply by searching for each on the most widely used networks, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and outlining your competitors’ activities.
3) “Social media is just a fad”
I’m not sure if anyone knew, years ago, just how consumed our daily lives would be with social media. Aaron Lee addressed the subject of social media, describing it as a “fundamental change in how we communicate” – not just a fad to be waited out and dismissed.
How to respond
Share Pew Research Center’s study with your boss, which found that 73% of online adults use social networking sites. Facebook was the most popular site, with 71% of online adults using it; LinkedIn was in the #2 spot with 22%.
You can also give your boss a snapshot of social media’s impressive growth since 2006 by sharing this article by Steven White.
The numbers bolster the argument that social media is a change to our lives, not just a fad that will have its 15 minutes and go the way of the pet rock. And as networks become stronger, features become richer, platforms become easier to use and audiences become larger, businesses have greater opportunity to leverage social media to engage with their best prospects and grow their businesses.
4) “We won’t get any leads from social media”
Executives want you to get the brand’s message out to prospects and deliver quality leads, yet their perceptions that social media is for young kids sharing fashion photos and videos of cute puppies doing human-like tricks works against its legitimate uses.
How to respond
To fight this argument, you’ll need to again take a look at HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing. It’s full of information related to successful use of social media in generating leads. It shows, among other things, that media is one of the top drivers of leads, that it’s the top driver of reducing the cost-per-lead (CPL) for B2B and B2C businesses, that CPL is actually reduced when social media marketing is used, and that 52% of all marketers surveyed actually sourced a lead from Facebook in 2013.
Now You’re All Set To Win A Ridiculous Argument
You’re not going to win any arguments about social media without some cold, hard facts, especially if the C-suite executive you’re talking to is a traditionalist unfamiliar with the power of social media. But with a fact-based defense, even the most stubborn boss won’t have any choice but to dive in and start taking full advantage of the networks that make the most sense for his or her brand.