Friday, 14 January 2011

Business cases and social media

It's been hard enough to make business cases for the other forms of interactive projects we're engaged in, but the move into social media has made it harder – why?

Well, yes, we're dealing with what have been called intangible benefits and traditionally these soft issues have not formed a core part of the business case mix. However as interactive technology has become more individual more mobile and more location sensitive, personal preference personal recommendations and personal opinions have more clout on the bottom line. We know this but how can we be convincing when making a case or pitch for a new social media project?

I imagine some of you are saying that it doesn't seem to matter as clients are just falling over themselves to get a presence in the social media market because they realise it is influential beyond expectation. But if you don't work with them to define what they expect from your offering for a time and cost, they may well have inflated expectations and you'll disappoint them. Now, disappointing clients is not a good option and certainly militates against return business, as we know.

Immerse yourself a little in some ideas from people trying to convince their own organisations to use social media. These people know they have to present strong business cases in terms that management will accept. Katy Cowan in Getting buy-in of social media, 11th January 2011, gives good tips for people trying to influence their companies that should make sense to you too. Jon Jackson, The Business Case for Social Media – stop being so analytical, 29th December 2010 gives equally sound advice despite riling against people that try to over-analyse the benefits. Don't miss Daniel's comment on this blog because whoever he is, he probably gives the best tips!

If you are having problems inside your own interactive company or section, why not get your lot to invest in the Social Media and Online PR Business Case, econsultancy Report, January 2010. It might be a little dated now in this fast-moving field and look expensive at £250 for 14 pages, but they have an offer of getting total access to all 350 reports for a year for £50 more. Maybe your management would accept this spend as an investment in training for employees? Keeping abreast of your field is Continuing Professional Development (CPD) after all.

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