How to earn adoption from the C-suite and the front lines — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Ryan Ronayne of SocialMedia.org. Connect with him by following him on Twitter.

11:15 — SocialMedia.org’s Erin McDaniel introduces Microsoft’s Kelly Rigotti.

11:17 — Kelly: Transition from buy-in to the front lines. Most applicable to this presentation was my five years teaching French kids to speak English.

11:18 — Kelly: Are you using the right language to describe your initiative? We talk about reach, high value, end to action, but when you’re talking to the executive level, they might not know or care about those terms. So tweak the language your using.

11:19 — Kelly: Use terms that your audience can understand. It’s a lot like PR — you want to be able to tell your story in a way others can understand it. We want to help people land on our website and give us information. Give us high value end actions.

11:20 — Kelly: How persistent are you? Whenever you see your executives, try to educate them in the terms that they know. Take that opportunity when meeting with executives just two or three times a month or even just passing them in the hall.

11:22 — Kelly shares her proudest moment: My boss’ boss explained everything I had been telling her the last six months to her boss. Educating over time is key.

11:24 — Kelly: What can you offer your stakeholders?

11:25 — Kelly: Offer them something in return. If you’re doing something somewhere new it can feel uncomfortable, like sailing into uncharted waters. This is the same when you’re dealing with others outside of marketing or different generations. Make them feel comfortable.

11:26 — Kelly: At Microsoft, I try to listen to their underlying fears. When unrolling an ambassador program, I hear “I don’t want to tweet” (which means “I don’t want to look foolish”), and “I don’t have time to create content” (which means “I don’t want to look foolish with what I create”). Give them the tools to ease their fears.

11:28 — Kelly asks, “What’s their role in your initiative?”

11:29 — Kelly: It’s not what they can do for, you but what you can do for them. What do you want their role to be? How can I do something that can conform to your expectations. I want you to do five tweets a week — give them a sense of competition. Give them a  guiding light for someone doing well. Once they get more confident, they will do it more willingly.

11:30 — Kelly asks, “Can others make your case for you?”

11:31 — All of us can talk about what the presentation structure is like at the Brands-Only Summit since we have seen it. In the same way I can expand my social media influence when I can talk about my objectives. Lots of talk about knowing your objectives. If you know them it can become a snowball effect. I can help them by educating them on what’s important to me.

Q & A

Q: How did you build the ability to create more content?

A: Kelly: A social ambassadors program. Something that’s been going on for 11 months. We want to allow people to tell the Microsoft Dynamic story more broadly. We want them to share our content with their communities. We use social media advocacy tool – Social Chorus. Our goal is to get up to 500 advocates by the end of the year. Results: Any one piece of content they share is 18x more effective than what we share.

Q: Can you share the right language to use when talking to executives?

A: Kelly: Engaged users over likes and fans. Going back to the idea of business goals, who are the key stakeholders. If the goal is awareness for others. Mirror their language in the way they describe something.

Q: Presenting social media strategy to their CEO next Monday. What to do? Do I talk about the basics? Impression or reach? Ambassador program? What do I tell this older gentleman and way social is important?

A: Kelly: I’ve been in that position before. This is really important not just because I’m younger than you  Talking about platforms is never a good way to start the conversation. “Why would anyone want to tweet?” “Facebook is for my grandchildren”. Thing about what is important for them, how many people are walking into the store, word of mouth about the store opening. Look at your companies yearly strategy, then talk about how social media supports those business goals: the digital, marketing, communications objectives. Good luck!

Q: Can you elaborate on your social media ambassador program: How does it function? Who runs it?

A: Kelly: We’re a BtoB program so we sell to a partner before it goes to the end user. So when thinking about the social media ambassador program I thought about the brand partners. Consumers don’t want to talk about Microsoft Dynamics who have a vested interest in support our objectives, which mirrors theirs. Goal again 500 advocates, split between internal advocates and partners.