This sounds like a frustrating endeavor on the surface right?
You have (what you believe anyway) to be a great social media campaign idea. I mean, it’s integrated, engaging, viral…all those words that mean nothing to anyone outside of marketing or PR. Whether it’s via your internal team or a client approval (or both), the only thing standing between you and winning the next Webby is a signature.
This is where it gets hard. You and your team are the younger, digital natives. Social networks aren’t something you really have to wrap your head around, it’s just part of your existence. It’s something you do naturally, just like watching TV or smelling milk before you pour it over your cereal if the expiration date is fast approaching. The one signing off on the idea? Not-so digitally savvy. They aren’t on Facebook, think Twitter is a 140-character waste of time and may even think a hashtag is another word for something they used in their parents’ basement back in the day.
Yes, there is that chance it’s going to take quite a bit of convincing to sell in your idea. If only those old folks would just “get it,” life would be soooo much easier.
This isn’t a roadblock…but an opportunity
Sure your idea makes more sense to you. However, explaining why it’s a good (and potentially profitable) idea is a good way to run your marketing chops through a trial by fire. If you can explain what you want to do, the user behavior that would impact your idea and the intended goals and objectives, your odds of sign-off improve dramatically.
My first job…
My first job out of college had a heavy social media component. I had to sell in why I needed certain tools to run our Twitter accounts. I understood the basic concept of social, how engagement boosted a brand but couldn’t explain it in terms of dollars. Our executive VP always hounded me on “how is Twitter making me money?” I heard it daily.
However, I made it my goal to be able to prove how it worked. Over time, I was able to help boost their lead generation at industry trade shows and even took over their Salesforce CRM admin duties to plug social activity into the company sales pipeline. Twitter became a legitimate lead generator. Now, I had a fancy Salesforce-generated pie graph showing cash-flow….and more credibility when I wanted buy off on other ideas. Without that need to prove value, I wouldn’t have learned near as much.
A non-digital native will still understand end goals if you have them. If you can’t simply explain what tool you want to use and why it’s beneficial, maybe there’s a chance to re-think your strategy in such a way that anyone could wrap their head around it.
Non-digital natives have a different perspective
Reading that above headline may be pointing out the obvious. You may be thinking “yeah, a closed-minded perspective…” but thinking that is definitely “the pot calling the kettle black” type of situation, so hear me out here:
Not long ago at my current company, I was explaining the concept of Foursquare to a non-digital co-worker. I explained why people use it, the functionality and even the data collection possibilites. From there, she asked “well, if that’s true, could [insert client here] do [tactic] using Foursquare?” Her idea was one of the more creative ways to use Foursquare for that client. Something I couldn’t of come up with myself but she did right there on the spot.
Sometimes, being a digital native, we get so wrapped up in our own little digital worlds that we have more of a close-minded approach to digital. Vetting those digital ideas through someone that isn’t natively part of our world is a good way to gain fresh perspective on a new digital platform.
Yes, non-digital natives can provide fresh perspective in our online world. They see it through a different lens than we do, which can bring better ideas to the table. These exercises in explanation are often a huge point of struggle or frustration…but also a great opportunity for growth.
Then, there are other times when all the analytical arguments in the world aren’t going to help you explain an idea. And that’s just unfortunate.
So, if you can handle it, try vetting your next grand social media scheme through a non-digital native. Sure, they may not fully comprehend your idea at first glance. You may have to walk through the process a few times.
However, that process may ultimately reveal you don’t really understand your idea either.
What do you think?