Every successful social media campaign starts with a key, often overlooked step — getting approval to try it in the first place.
As with most things in life, big success is often the result of experimentation and in order to do that you first must get the powers that be to sign off on your idea.
The following 10 steps can increase the odds you get a greenlight for your next game-changing social initiative…
1. Have A Fleshed Out Plan
Timing is everything.
That’s especially true when it comes to how and when present your idea. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement as you formulate the idea, but make sure you don’t present it too early.
Every single detail doesn’t need to be fleshed out before you present the concept, but make sure you have enough details in place to be able to present it in a thorough way and respond to questions you may get about it.
If your idea isn’t fleshed out enough, it’s easy for people to poke holes in it and you may find it gets killed before you even had the chance to solve what may be simple issues.
2. Make Sure YOUR Idea Matches THEIR Goal
Let’s be honest: Most organizations are not aligned on their goals.
What you may think is important from a social media perspective isn’t necessarily going to be the same as what your boss or others value.
Make sure the promise of your idea speaks to the goals of the person you need to approve it.
This may mean you need to speak to how your idea will not only accomplish your own social goals (engagement, views, etc.), but how it will achieve non-social goals as well.
If your ultimate goal is to sell a product, explain how your idea will do that — not just how it will increase your engagement numbers.
Don’t just talk about how it will drive more views to the company’s content, but rather how it will drive more targeted views to the exact audience you know your boss wants to reach.
3. Explain How The Platform Works
In addition to speaking to the company’s broader goals, you also want to explain your concept in a way the person you’re pitching will understand.
The people you need to approve your idea often won’t understand social media or specific social platforms as well as you do. Rather than lose them in the weeds of social jargon, translate your idea into terms they understand.
You may need to teach them a bit about the specific platform you’re planning to use if it’s relatively new or off their radar.
If you pitch a custom Snapchat filter concept to somebody who knows nothing about Snapchat, show them exactly what it is and give them context for why it will be effective.
The more they understand about the platform you’re pitching, the better they’ll grasp your idea and more likely it is to get approved.
4. Show Why There’s Nothing New About Your Idea
This may seem counterintuitive, but hear me out.
New things are scary. Especially to people who have to put their name (and budgets) behind ideas that didn’t originate with them.
To make it easier for them, show them examples of things others have done that are similar to what you hope to get approved.
It doesn’t have to be the exact same thing (you can certainly take some liberties), but show there’s a track record for success for this kind of idea.
Assure them your idea isn’t that risky and help them feel secure that their decision to approve it is justified.
But at the same time, you also want to…
5. Show Why Everything’s New About Your Idea
While it’s helpful to demonstrate your idea is similar to other successful ideas, it’s just as important to showcase why it’s new, different and innovative.
Get your company excited about the opportunity to reap the rewards and praise for doing and accomplishing something nobody has done before.
Your boss is the one who has to take the risk on your idea, but she’s also the one who will get the glory if it succeeds.
The more you help her see that future, the more likely you are to get clearance to go for it.
6. Make It Safe-ish
If the person you pitch is waffling — sensing both the opportunity and risk involved in your idea — nudge them forward by acknowledging it could fail.
But in doing so, let them know that you’ve got a plan for that too.
Explain what could go wrong and how you will handle it if it does.
(By the way, that’s worth thinking about when you originally flesh out the plan.)
Any social campaign carries risk with it, so it’s better to acknowledge that than pretend it doesn’t exist.
7. Remind People The Point Is To Get Noticed
No matter what your new social media campaign is designed to accomplish, getting noticed by people is likely a big part of it.
Remind everybody involved the way to get noticed is to do something different, remarkable, and worthy of people’s attention.
You don’t get noticed by doing what everybody else does or what you’ve always done.
Remind whoever you need approval from of that.
8. Set A Clear Success Metric
Every conversation about a new social media approach should include establishment of clear success metrics to measure the performance of your campaign once it begins.
Present your recommended success metrics as part of your proposal and base them on goals you know matter to the person you pitch.
Get on the same page with regard to the metrics that matter and allow them to influence how you structure your campaign.
9. Start Small
If you have trouble getting approval for the campaign at the level you’d like to run it, try a small test run.
One of the big advantages of social media is the opportunity it presents to adapt quickly.
If you can’t get approval for the full approach you’d like, take what you can get, start small, and show results. When you generate some quick success, it becomes infinitely easier to get approval to expand your idea.
The same principle can be applied to ideas that aren’t budget-dependent.
If your boss isn’t sold on a new creative direction, ask to test it on a single social platform or during a down-time.
Gauge the reaction to that new approach and if positive you can then expand it to additional platforms or high-profile social moments.
10. Share Early Success
Once you get your new social idea approved, make sure you share any early success you have with the people who approved it.
Don’t wait until the end of the campaign to share the results in a report. Jump on whatever initial good response you have and update them on the progress as you go.
This does a couple things. First, early good results creates an opportunity to amplify the initiative as it’s happening.
Second, it frames how the idea is perceived by others who may not be paying as close attention to it as you are. You know what they say about first impressions? Well, this is your chance to deliver a strong first impression.
Sharing the success of your campaign is also the first step toward getting approval of your next “crazy” idea.
The more you build a track record of success, the easier it becomes to get approval for what you want to do in the future.
If you do something that works, make sure people know about it.