How to Sell the Value of Social Media to People Who Don't Get It

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automotive-social-media-marketingIt’s been an amazing week. The new year has kicked into high gear and more changes have come to the Social Media landscape. It’s uber important (perhaps never more necessary) to utilize Social Media to reach those customers who will benefit from your products and services.

It’s disturbing that there are some people out there who’re still on the fence about Social Media’s value.

Every month, my friend Marieke Hensel and I hold a meetup called, “Social Media Campfire“. Each month we decide our topic and then invite a thought leader in our area (Orange County CA) to come chat with our group about that topic. It’s casual and collaborative. Everyone learns something. Our thought leader this month was Niklas Myhr, Social Media & Global Marketing Professor at Chapman University. Our subject was, “How to sell the value of Social Media to people who don’t get it”.

Since you’re reading this, I’ll take a wild guess that you can be described as one of these two types, or maybe you fall somewhere in between:

  • You’re frustrated that the boss doesn’t see how valuable Social Media can be for business
  • You think Social Media is a waste of time.

While this post is for every person on that spectrum, I feel the need to outline some of the ideas we discussed in Campfire for those that have a passion for Social Media marketing. Those who are stuck because their manager or owner needs coaxing to see how amazing Social Media is at building lasting relationships and generating leads.

As Niklas indicated, there are two ways to approach a naysayer when illustrating how valuable Social Media is to a business. Each is just as important as the other.

The first one is rational. Appeal to their reasonable and sensible side by showing how good judgment plays a part in the decision to move forward with Social Media. Prepare to speak rationally on how it makes good business sense to tap into this market:

  1. Don’t oversell it. Social Media is not all kittens and unicorns. It’s hard work and takes great strategic planning. Don’t make it look easier than it really is.
  2. Amplify your happy, loyal customers’ voice. Word of mouth is the most effective and least costly way to market anything. Happy customers are contagious. Customer satisfaction leads to 2 things: word of mouth and loyalty.
  3. Define what value is for them. Use an analogy that illustrates it in their language. They may remember what it was like before cell phones. These devices were revolutionary in their day but they’re commonplace now. The TV, radio and even newspapers were relevant in their time. Today, the customer is online.
  4. ROI (Return on Investment). Good business decisions are based on getting the best solution for the least cost. Many have said that Social Media ROI is a myth. As a former dealership manager, I see it differently. Social Media is the most measurable media there is, especially if you’re comparing it to traditional mass media. Before you start, set objectives. Measurement is about more than just results. It must tie back to your objectives.

Your second approach is Emotional. Appeal to those little nudges we all have when faced with a decision. Emotions influence one’s reasoning process:

  1. Give them something. Say, “You’re right” when they object. Make it easier for them to swallow their pride.
  2. Appeal to their ego. This isn’t for everyone but you know very well how nicely it can work for some. Paint a picture of how good they’ll look.
  3. Our culture today only rewards people who are taking risks. We stay in our comfort zone by avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. They may be contemplating taking a risk in order to get more cars sold and serviced. Outline how the risk will pay off.
  4. Illustrate the affect that content has on prospective buyers (especially the content you publish yourself). Prospects are more likely to buy from brands they know, like and trust. Providing information (especially stuff they didn’t know they didn’t know) moves your store into the post position.

Add some Social proof to rise above the noise. Show how consumers behave when they see their friends’ liking something or sharing their positive experience. You’ve never been able to listen in to what customers are saying…until now.

Don’t forget to sell the easy wins. Every business must market where their customer spends their time. Where is today’s customer? Online.  Customer satisfaction and customer relations is also an easy win. Show them they’ll need to have profiles in place to combat negative remarks and help sustain your store’s reputation in a crisis.

Your Turn: What tactics have you adopted to convince your boss (or your client) of the value of Social Media?

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  • Carol Lynn Rivera

    One of the tough things to sell is the amount of time it takes to manage and to see results. Plenty of people still think their college kid can manage a social account because they’re on Facebook! And plenty more think that you should be able to set up a Facebook page, post a few things and make money. Selling the “idea” of social is half the battle – selling the process that comes along with it is the other half!

    • Kathi Kruse

      Absolutely agree Carol! I thought I’d take it a step at a time. Hmmm, perhaps another post devoted solely to “selling the process” is in order? Thanks so much for your great insights :-)

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  • Jenna Wood

    I think that Facebook’s new GraphSearch is going to be a game-changer. When they understand that Facebook will be like Google, only better, I think they’re more likely to get on board.

  • Discovery Honda

    I have to say, I think you read my mind. I’m struggling with trying to teach “old school” car salesmen the benefits of Social Media. I figured I would attempt to sit in on their some of their meetings and just try and help them understand. Then I sat down and began what I thought was going to be the time consuming task of trying to find the right information to pass on to them. I thought of you first because you I follow you closely and you are in the automotive industry. Then… low and behold! Thanks Kathi… now I know where to start.

    • krusecontrol

      Thank so much! I’m so glad our timing was in sync. What’s your biggest challenge with getting the sales guys to be interested in Social?

  • Jenn Herman

    This is such a great article! This is something we all encounter at some point. My mantra is always: There’s no opting out of social media! If you’re not speaking for yourself online, you’re letting someone else speak for you. I incorporate this mantra with many of the points you mention above to validate the advantages of being online. It takes time, and often some finesse, but persistence will usually win over even the biggest naysayers.

    • krusecontrol

      Thanks Jenn! Persistence is exactly it. I’ve been at this for 4 years now and I still get a lot of people asking very simple questions. There’s a reluctance out there for sure.

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  • FrederickWebPromotions

    I’m trying to get upper level management to view Transparency as Hard Currency, they think it’s an intangible (and there is no column on their ledgers for intangibles), sharing your articles is helping a LOT

    • krusecontrol

      Thank you so much! I’m so happy to hear my content is making a difference for you. It’s a mountain to climb, getting upper level management to look at things differently but the customer has changed. We’re just trying to accommodate the change and attract leads and sales!

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