Getting leadership buy-in for social business transformation is essential if you want your program to succeed and realise its full impact. As Professor John Koffer says in his book, Buy-In: “70% of all organizational change efforts fail, and one reason for this is executives simply don’t get enough buy-in, from enough people, for their initiatives and ideas.”
So how can you get buy-in for your social business transformation program? You’ve got to win both hearts and minds, balancing logic and emotion. Psychological studies show time and again that we make decisions based on emotions and justify with facts.
Here’s how you can win over your board to go all-in on social.
1 - Enlist An Executive Sponsor
At Tribal we work with individuals across industries to help them bring social alive across their enterprise and more often than not, they start with an idea and an influential leader who sees the potential for a socially active business. One where individuals have the knowledge, tools and motivation to advocate for themselves and their employer on social media.
Enlisting an executive sponsor is a critical first step and one that cannot be missed. Your sponsor may not be your direct manager or someone from your department. What’s important is that they understand social (and are active on at least one social platform), are higher up the chain than you and will work with you to bring the leadership team on side.
2 – Get Data To Build Your Business Case
To build a compelling business case, you’ll need data – concrete evidence that’s undeniable.
At Tribal, we strongly believe that any program must first run as a pilot, where you can take vital learnings and make a measured and considered investment. A mini-pilot of a few volunteers will give you the accurate data and business-specific evidence you need. This is how you can show, not tell leaders how powerful a socially activated workforce can be.
Here are examples of the data you can collect and measure:
- How does employee created content generate engagement versus brand created content?
- How does employee distributed content drive traffic to your website versus brand distributed content?
- What is the earned media value of employee distributed content?
Be sure to tie your data and analysis back to your business objectives and ambitions. If you’re going to convince the board, they need to see both their department’s and the wider business goals being met.
3 – Your Leaders Need To Experience Social Transformation For Themselves
Let’s just put this out there. No one likes to admit when they don’t know something. At Tribal we often coach executives in one-on-one sessions where they can ask any question related to social in a judgement-free zone.
We help them optimise their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, develop their online voice, and teach them time-efficient methods to be socially active. It’s not uncommon to show executives how to post or tweet or how and why to use hashtags. Execs appreciate speaking to someone one-on-one who will teach them how to make social work for them.
Leaders frequently know they should be present and active on social, they often just don’t know how to start. Find a few open-minded leaders in your business who you can nurture through their own social transformation. Their experience will provide you with additional support to get funding for your social transformation project.
Getting leadership on board is one of the first challenges on the road to a social-first business. The next step is to get employees on board and rolling out the programme strategically, with the right tools and training for the right people at the right time.