My Boss Is An Idiot, So Now What Do I Do?

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by Steve Holt on January 16, 2011

Leadership flows downhill.  Well, that’s how it is supposed to be.  Yes, there are instances when the boss is an idiot and the real leaders are somewhere below in the hierarchical tree.  But that is the point of this post in talking about social media strategy.

Whether the organization is big or small, if the people/person at the top doesn’t support the social media outreach you are trying to do, then you won’t get very far.  In fact, it’s even better if the guy/gal at the top actually uses social media in some form so that they understand what it is about and you don’t have to explain what a tweet is or what trackbacks are.  Right now things are changing so fast and social media is so new and fresh that many people simply don’t understand it or trust it.  They have a hard time letting go of their preconceptions about what has worked in the past and social media to them is just a bunch of white noise.

Just trust me on this one.  I am a part of an organization where some of the individuals who are making decisions about the organization’s internet presence and social media outreach don’t even use Facebook or Twitter or any type of social media.  The don’t understand when I start talking about the importance of placing your social media icons on your website or how we need to sink people and money into our social media outreach.  And don’t even get me started on trying to explain location-based social media outreach to them.  I get blank stares from them and questions like “You mean people actually do this?  I don’t understand.”

So what are you supposed to do if you are a part of an organization like that, with a boss who just doesn’t get it?  Well, first you need to open a Facebook account in their name and pretend to be them.

No, I’m kidding.  That would be fun, for sure, but don’t do that.

You need to demonstrate to them why social media outreach is important.  You need to show them examples of companies who are doing it, and the success they are having.  You need to provide them statistics and data to prove to them that social media isn’t just a fad.  You need to find out who your customers/constituents are, and then show your boss statistics and data about what those people are doing with social media.  I can guarantee you that if you frame your argument in terms of wanting to start a conversation with your customers, how can your boss say no to that?  After all, social media outreach at its core is simply a conversation.

So where do you need to start gathering information, data, and stories of success?  That’s easy.  www.mashable.com, which is one of my daily stops.  Good luck to you.  At times, I am walking down the same road as you.

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