When it comes to pitching new ideas, or new business, do social media evangelists follow their own advice?
Convincing businesses to use tools and strategies they barely understand can be challenging at best, even for the most respected social media experts.
Before we even begin to have the dreaded ROI discussion, we often have to explain the basics of how social media works; the basic paradigm shift necessary to deliver company messages within a dialogue, instead of a monologue, as well as some of the technology that facilitates this process. But, what would happen if instead of jumping into the whys and wherefores of social media, we actually listened to the needs of our client or upper management?
Let’s face it, the words, user generated content mean absolutely nothing to 95 percent of the population whether or not they generate content as users. Right?
Those of us who practice and/or preach the value of social media like to talk about listening, but how well do we listen before we pitch new business or new ideas within our own company or department?
I’m sharing with you here because I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.
It’s so easy for many of us to get caught up in our own excitement over the promise and potential of genuine social media engagement that we rush in with slide decks chock full of stats and demographics and pie charts, but we forget to meet our boss or potential clients on their level.
Instead, we do the very things we accuse them of — we broadcast our pitch, we try to convince them that we know better and we just plain forget to listen. We get completely and totally caught up in our own agenda to advance the social media cause.
After all, we already think we understand their problem, because in our eyes, the problem is that they’re not engaging in social media. Period. This is actually our problem.
Social media is still extremely new to most sectors of business and if we’re going to win over new business and convince our employers to change the fundamental way they communicate, we need to stop demanding that everyone else wake up to our truth, and instead focus on building relationships with the people inside these businesses.
This isn’t just good advice for pitching social media strategies, but pitches of all types could benefit from a lot more listening and relationship building on the front end.
In 2009, we need to do more than just talk about the value of relationships and foster them instead. The tenets of social media should apply offline as well as online right? Shouldn’t the real dialogue begin with us?
Photo by What What