How to Win Executive Support for Social Media

Oct 13, 2011

One of the biggest challenges for marketing and public relations departments in the wake of social media is how to secure executive buy-in. Approaching the CEO, CFO, president, and board of directors demands extensive preparation. Marketers must educate on what social media is; then explore and explain the strategy, the execution, the unexpected consequences, and the legal ramifications; define the measurable goals; leverage the power of social and traditional media; find the voice and the audience; and choose the channels to converse and engage on. .

That’s serious information overload to present to the C-levels. What do executives want to know before taking the company and its reputation into the social sphere?

We’ll find out on Wednesday, October 19, at the Hilton Harrisburg during Social Media at Work 2011. The first of our five panels is “From the C-Level: Why Should Business Engage?”

Kathleen Pavelko (@KPav), president of WITF, Richard E. Jordan II    (@RichardEJordan2), CEO of Smith Land & Improvement Corporation and LB Smith Ford Lincoln Inc., Dan Kerr (@RunonEnergy), director of energy services for McClure Company, and Dr. Kim Phipps (@MessiahPrez), president of Messiah College will share the realities and influence of social media in their worlds.

WITF has embraced the shift in media communications and is active on several social channels. “As an organization created to be a broadcaster—one-to-many—we are learning to engage one-to-one with the group formerly known as the audience,” says Kathleen. “And that begins with me.”

Richard E. Jordan II is the face of Smith Land & Improvement Corporation on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. “As the CEO, I’ve learned that there is tremendous power to harness on these channels. There is a Facebook audience of more than 75,000, ages 18 and up, within a 10-mile radius of our office. That means to reach our community it’s a good idea to engage where the consumers already are. We want national retailers and local businesses to find us quickly when they Google our name. And we want to make sure that they find great content that tells our story.”

McClure Company is a mechanical contracting and energy services firm headquartered in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The chief engineer managing a $40 million line of business, Dan Kerr recognized the value of telling McClure’s story online. “As an engineer who blogs, I am probably in the 99.9 percentile for my occupation. There are several reasons why I started The M Files, and there are several unexpected benefits from our company blog,” said Dan. “Building brand loyalty from within the company and watching the blog become a recruiting tool are business advantages and both move the bottom line in different ways.”

A liaison between the student body, the community, the trustees, and academia, Dr. Kim Phipps is not only a regular on the op-ed pages of The Patriot-News, but she is also active on Facebook and Twitter. A post on Facebook says, “Off to the inauguration of Etown’s new president-next time I am on their campus we will be beating them in soccer!” In addition to school support, there is tremendous public relations and brand-building value for Dr. Phipps.

Join us at Social Media at Work on Wednesday, October 19, 2011, at The Hilton Harrisburg to learn more about what executives need to know to support social media. Register here and follow the Twitter hashtag #SMatWork.


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