A friend of mine in marketing recently described her colleagues’ objections to using social media to communicate to a national, multi-generational workplace.
Although her Generation X and Generation Y peers clearly understand the importance of using social media as a communications channel at work, Baby Boomers are another story.
It can be a challenge to persuade marketers from older generations to embrace social media. Not always, of course, but often enough. They have their standard communications toolkit, and when someone suggests social media as an addition to that toolkit, they can quickly dismiss it.
We can’t force anybody to love social media, and that’s fine. But to dismiss it might alienate a demographic who may be one of your target audiences, and who will most certainly miss out on your key messages.
As such, you should view social media as another tool in an organization’s corporate communications or marketing toolkit. It’s no different from public relations, direct marketing or advertising.
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Here are some selling points that may persuade Boomers to value social media as an important part of the marketing mix:
1. Social media can be more cost effective than other marketing channels.
Business leaders of all ages understand cost savings, so remind them that social media can be a cost effective way to engage with large audiences. The biggest investment is the time it takes to design and implement the right presence and build a solid, engaged community. But once you gain traction, the work will pay off in spades.
2. Social media’s results are highly measurable and often immediate.
You can evaluate the success of a social media campaign by the number of followers, fans, shares, likes or website visitors it produces. Then relate it back to the overall marketing and business objectives. You can also monitor the keywords consumers associate with your brand. This offers incredibly rich insight into what your customers think.
Reporting those results to business leaders is a great way to convince them of the value of social media as a marketing and business tool and its return on investment.
3. Social media is an opportunity to engage proactively and reactively.
Businesses that don’t use social media miss an opportunity to engage and start conversations with potential customers. They also miss the opportunity to stop negative feedback in its tracks.
4. Social media sharing is a domino effect.
When something entertains, educates or inspires a social media user, he is likely to share that content with his network. It’s a domino effect that you shouldn’t ignore. It’s an opportunity to spread influence beyond the organization’s immediate network.
5. Social media content lives forever.
Unlike an ad campaign that runs for a specific time, social media content is searchable forever—it’s always online. You can see and reference each interaction an organization has with potential or current customers for years.
How have you persuaded Boomers to use social media? Tell us by leaving a comment below.
Andrea Lekushoff is the founder and president of Broad Reach Communications. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn. A version of this article originally appeared on the Broad Reach Communications blog, Reaching Out.