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B2B Social Media: Onboarding the C-Suite

I read an interesting article about onboarding today. I learned a lot, especially since I didn’t know what the word really meant. In case you don’t know what it means either, I’ll share what I learned. In a nutshell, a company engaging in processes to immerse new employees into their particular culture, along with training them to perform their day-to-day work duties, is onboarding. The company hopes doing this will create happy, productive and loyal employees. I thought about how this concept might work to help B2B social media marketers obtain buy-in for their organizations’ executives – also known as the C-Suite.

Many B2B marketers can tell a war story or two about getting their company’s executives to buy into social media. Some executives “get it,” but a lot either don’t or won’t. Important to note: The C-suite must be on board in order to executive a successful B2B social media plan, regardless of your company’s size. Here are two ideas B2B marketers can use for “onboarding” their C-Suite and getting them “on board” with B2B social media.

Social media is exciting! But being overwhelmed is not…

New employees are often bombarded with paperwork and other documents on their first days. The newbies often need to absorb a lot of facts in a short amount of time, in conjunction with learning to maneuver among their new colleagues. Needless to say, learning all these things overwhelm many of them.

In much the same way, social media concepts overwhelm some executives. The enthusiastic social media marketer who blasts the C-Suite with all the jargon and lingo up front may be quickly shut down. Instead, the marketer who introduces B2B social media to the executives in a structured manner is more likely to accomplish buy-in and support. Slow down, create a plan which explains the concepts in language the C-suite understands, and set up a short meeting to present your plan on why and how social media works.

Allow for some one-on-one time…

With onboarding, the manager and other team members spend a good amount of one-on-one time with a new employee. In doing this they each get to know the other better, which promotes a sense of camaraderie from day one. The entire organization benefits as they foster a team environment through the process.

Using this same onboarding approach, a B2B social media marketer can also take time to set up one-on-one meetings with each executive member of the organization. A few minutes spent talking and getting to know one another can go a long way. As the marketer builds rapport with each member of the C-Suite, the sense of being on the same team also grows. This ultimately allows for a comfortable environment to have conversations and bounce off ideas – like using social media within the organization. When members of the C-Suite understand you and your ideas, the chance of them buying in to social media is even greater.

We’re on board. Now what?

A B2B social media marketer who achieves the necessary buy-in from his or her executives has overcome one of the biggest challenges. The support of the C-Suite is essential to a successful social media program on many different levels – from the initial startup costs of platform setup and all the way through the many stages of engaging with potential and existing clients. Savvy marketers know how B2B social media trends and best practices change frequently.  The marketers who keep up with those changes and also regularly “onboard” their C-Suite will sustain more positive results from their social media efforts.

Would you take the time to onboard your organization’s executives if you knew it would help them buy into social media? What’s stopping you?