hat tip to Social Computing for their post

As the millennial generation enters the marketplace there has been an increase in the use of social media tools in the overall marketing strategy for medium to large size businesses. Over the years, business owners attitudes have shifted from out-right against to open yet apprehensive. Their apprehension is intensified when a “social media” advocate cannot fully outline the benefits of using social media for a company. Believe me when I say, It’s cool just doesn’t cut it anymore.”

How do you sell a social media strategy to your employer? Better yet, how do you explain the benefits of social media in a business communication strategy?

Before we get into a list of the benefits of social media there needs to be thought involved in this process. Just because social media, social networking, and blogging are overused in the marketplace does not mean they fit your communications strategy. After reading this post, think long and hard about the positives and negatives of social media and how it relates to your communication strategy.

WHEW. Now that we have that out of the way: How to sell social media to the layman:

Social Computing had a couple good points:

1. Internally, social media tools can be used to help with status information, training, project collaboration. Most tools like blogs, twitter-clones like identi.ca, etc can be set up internally instead of used on the public web, for more privacy.

2. Building an online social media component to most marketing and PR efforts ensures a better reach for the media created, and potentially better tracking through clicks and other metrics captured online versus in traditional media (like TV, newsprint, magazines, radio).

3. Building a social network group (either on someone else’s platform or around your primary site) encourages customer retention (a huge metric for lots of companies).

4. When you open up your communications platform to blogging and social media you are adding a new depth to your company. Consumers want to know there are people behind the product. They want to know there is something authentic behind the service they just purchased.

5. Use an example of a company who has been successful in this new world. Ex: BestBuys Internal Social Network for Employees.

There a plenty of other examples of the benefits of adding social media to your communications strategy. I encourage the layman and the advocate to get together and discuss. Without discussion and debate the communication problem will grow and manifest from apprehension to aggression.