As a young professional in today’s world of digital media, you may be tasked with greater responsibilities as companies and brands are relying a great deal on fresh perspectives, innovation, and the ability to be agile on new initiatives. While you may be granted greater responsibilities and opportunities, the trust factor is not always there. Those with experience have a difficult time trusting new ideas from young team members.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned through recent experiences that can help you become a trusted team member and a force in pushing forward new ideas and initiatives. You can essentially branding yourself as an expert within your company.
Educate the decision-maker.
It’s not enough to have a good idea, you also have to know how to explain why it’s a good idea, and quite often this means providing a background information in an appealing and easy-to-understand manner. Don’t be condescending and assume your superiors lack common information, but be aware of cues and be prepared for questions. Your coworkers want to be successful but need to learn as much as they can before moving forward.
Provide examples, projections and, if possible, hard data about the costs and benefits of your idea. “I have a really cool idea for how to use Twitter” is a lot less convincing than, “I have idea X and here is how we will be successful.” In thinking about how to pitch a social media idea, make sure to think about it from the decision-maker’s perspective. What makes the idea appealing to you might also appeal to her, but you often need to go a step farther to demonstrate profitability.
Educate yourself on existing initiatives.
No matter how revolutionary your social media strategy seems to you, it will not hurt to check in with your co-workers and even other departments about what the company already does to achieve related goals. If you want to use Facebook to launch a new campaign, you should be aware of any differences or similarities to existing projects that touch on the same bottom line. If possible, your new social strategy should have a clear tie-in with the company’s over-arching marketing goals. Taking a collaborative approach will also help to further develop your project and generally improve its chances of success.
Learn to accept criticism.
It is possible that the decision-makers will not accept your bold new social strategy. But if they say no initially, they may still say yes somewhere down the line. Be alert to any constructive criticism of your concept, and consider it seriously. If you can use this feedback to improve the concept or further align it with company values and strategies, then you may be able to win over your superiors and move forward with your project eventually.
Harrison is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the new Online MBA program at the University of North Carolina and sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive. As evidenced through his previous projects, Harrison has a passion for all things social media, philanthropy, and finding new ways for students to understand the power of a brand. Before moving to New York and while still a student at Temple University, Harrison founded the PR/Social Media consulting firm, Kratz PR as well as Engage TV and the #PRStudCast podcast. Feel free to connect with him to discuss community, social good, branding, or the Philadelphia Phillies on Twitter, @KratzPR or Linkedin