How To Get Buy-in To Invest In Social Media

Kirsty Marrins
Digital communications specialist
25 Sep 2017

You understand the importance of having a social media presence for your charity. How it can help raise awareness and support for your cause and even funds. More importantly, you understand how it can bring you closer to your supporters as well as help you find new ones.

But now you need to invest in it

Investment doesn’t necessarily mean ‘money’. It could be time or resource. Perhaps you wear many hats and social media is just one of the items on your (very) long list of things to do. One of the solutions could be to take one or two things off your list of responsibilities to then free up more time for social. Or it could be to start using a social media management tool.

Whatever your solution, you’ll need buy-in

By ‘buy-in’ we mean that someone above you needs to be convinced by what you are suggesting. This person may be your line manager, CEO or even your board of trustees. Whoever it is, think about what kind of person they are and what their personality traits are. Why? Because their personality is important when it comes to communicating your needs to them.

Let’s use an example:

Meena is the Communications Officer at a small youth charity, with a turnover of under £500,000. There are four other full-time staff members: colleagues who work in fundraising, volunteer management, admin and the CEO. The charity relies heavily on volunteers and Meena knows that she needs to spend more time and resource on engaging with existing volunteers on social media as well as using social media to recruit new volunteers.

As a Communications Officer, Meena is responsible for managing the website, social media channels, publishing the monthly newsletter, sourcing images, writing up case studies, maintaining the Google Adwords account as well as handling any PR. In order to dedicate more time to social media, Meena knows that something else has to give.

Sarah is the charity’s CEO and Meena’s line manager. As the CEO of a small charity, Sarah is time-poor. She is also a numbers person and has an analytical mind. For Meena to get buy-in she needs to convince Sarah that she should invest more time in social media and it has to make business sense. So Meena puts together a plan:

  1. She does a social media audit of the charity’s competitors and identifies where her own charity is weak
  2. She identifies opportunities the charity has missed because they are too reactive on social media
  3. She compiles a report of the charity’s social media analytics over the last 3 months
  4. She keeps a timesheet of everything that she has to do in her role for two weeks to identify which tasks are the most time consuming
  5. She sets up a shared content calendar that her colleagues can access and asks them to add in top-line information of any upcoming campaigns or things they’d like to share for the next month

Now, this might seem like a lot of work, particularly if Meena is stretched already. However, by understanding Sarah’s personality traits and what it will take to convince her to invest in social media in the long term, Meena is setting herself up for success.

Meena takes all the intelligence she has gathered and puts it into a format she knows Sarah likes – a PDF report. In this report, Meena outlines her plan for spending more time on social media – creating content that speaks to her audience and is engaging – and how this will help increase volunteer sign-ups. She also includes visual examples of positive interactions with volunteers on social media. Meena has analysed how much time she spends on each task and has found that writing up case studies takes up 20% of her time. However, by working more closely with her colleague who manages volunteers, Meena can reduce this to around 10%. That means more time to invest in social media.

Don’t offer up a problem without a solution

No matter what personality traits the person you need buy-in from may have, they will all want a solution to the problem – so come prepared. As the saying goes, ‘Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.’ Essentially, if you want buy-in for social media (or anything really), you have to present a strong business case.

Kirsty Marrins

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