Who better to trust on the topic of getting social media buy-in from executives than Gary Spangler, the 29-year veteran and corporate e-Manager at DuPont? If Spangler can move the social media ball down the field at his multinational 208-year-old behemoth of a company, so can you.

As part of his Online Marketing Summit presentation this week, he offered these five tips:

  1. Educate yourself. Become an expert. Learn everything you can about social media and how the different channels operate. To further integrate into the space, network, join WOMMA [and, we might add, sign up for SmartBrief on Social Media to keep abreast of developments in the field each day]. Listen. Lurk. Follow your competitors.
  2. Start a pilot test. Limit your scope at this phase. The goals are to show modest but tangible success and make social media less scary internally.
  3. Socialize your results across the company. Encourage anyone who shows enthusiasm.
  4. Sell social media to stakeholders one on one. Start the conversation on an individual level before trying to convene a group. Show them what your competitors are doing. A related suggestion from Chris Baggot at Jay Baer’s outstanding OMS session: carry “back pocket data” so you have stats at the ready when you run into people in the hall.
  5. Enlist outside experts, but don’t give up your brand. This will reassure management that your brand is safe and will not be hijacked.

Image credit, calvio, via iStock

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17 responses to “Selling social media upstairs”

  1. MkellyATL says:

    Great suggestions by Gary, but a little disappointing and strange to promote a man that claims to be "moving social media down the field" at his company, when his own twitter account (that you publish when you click on his name) has not been updated since Sept 21, 2009?? I was looking forward to following his account, but sad to see he does not practice what he preaches.

    • Good point – I'll email Gary right now and ask if there's a better/different Twitter account he manages!

    • Gary Spangler says:

      Thank-you for your post. I have been expecting someone to bring this up and I will try to explain my approach, recognizing that it may not be a satisfactory answer. I am responsible for bringing new channels and social media to DuPont for marketing and communications purposes. While doing that, I am learning how various tools and applications work so that I can better explain how they can add business value to those inside DuPont interested in using them (e.g., Twitter). And I have been successful inside DuPont introducing a variety of new approaches which bring business value. Whether I post on Twitter or not does not at this time impact my ability to lead DuPont into marketing through social media. I have been careful not to overextend myself personally by being committed to posting on social sites at this time and I have prioritized my time so that I can focus on consulting with DuPont businesses to bring business value to them through social and word of mouth marketing. Having said that, your comment has merit and I appreciate the "wake up call." Look for more tweets in the future.

      • Brian Martin says:

        Gary has a very valid point. It is extremely difficult to lead AND input content. Always a balancing act with time but @markvanbaale also has a good point. People are more interested in people more than they are in follow brands. A comment from gary from Dupont has more impact than a comment from a faceless organization. My two cents…

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  3. I believe MkellyATL does have a good point though on how often one is engaging with people via their own personal account. Gary, I think you give a detailed report on why your account has not been updated since your focus is on DuPont., but in many ways, others will dictate how well you are engaging by how often you are doing so via your own personal accounts. Maybe a good idea to show a more active DuPont Twitter account under your name in case others view it also wondering what is up. Just a suggestion. I do think it is great that DuPont is embracing social media. Keep up the great work!

  4. […] Selling social media upstairs Published: March 1, 2010 Source: SmartBlog On Social Media Who better to trust on the topic of getting social media buy-in from executives than Gary Spangler, the 29-year veteran and corporate e-Manager at DuPont? If Spangler can move the social media… […]

  5. Mark Asay says:

    Thanks for the tips. I'm in the business and still learn daily what makes sense in this space.. And yes! At least run a pilot if you are in marketing.

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  9. Paul Kidner says:

    Hi all, I've just come to this post a little late but read all these comments with great interest as am part of a company that provides a social media platform to business. We are also finding it a challenge at times to promote the use of social media upstairs. We find this is mainly from, understandably busy CEO's and people who see the value of, and know there is a social media world out there, but do not yet use it, or are not sure how to use it for their company. I think this will change in time but great going Gary for embracing it early. It is surely going to impact business activity in the very near future. Our thinking is that we can make social media more digestible by concentrating and categorising all the valuable information you need, in real time into one social space – rather than having to hunt around for it on Twitter, YouTube, Digg, etc. If you're interested I'd be happy to fill people in or you can check out Wadja.com. Would be very happy for any feedback!

  10. James says:

    I think that the last point was a really good one that deserves a comment. Getting professional help is something everyone should do who is trying to build a brand. These professionals are highly trained in what they do. Your image and brand is essential to your success, so it would be wise to consult a trained professional.
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