If you are responsible for social media at your company then you know this feeling – you find the perfect social media management tool that will save you more minutes and hours than you can count, and reduce the amount of headache painkillers you have to take too.
Only one catch. Tools costs money. Money that your boss has to approve.
Never fear. Here are strategies to help make the purchase of social media tools as much of a no-brainer purchase for the boss as it is for you.
Gather Your Data
While the tool might be convenient for you, how does it help your boss and your company? Take some time to get some hard facts behind why spending money on this social media tool actually saves the company money too.
For example, if you are managing multiple social media accounts and have to log in and out of each one to monitor mentions and respond to comments all of that time adds up. If you are using a tool like Agorapulse, then you can monitor that all in one place.
You can also gather data about your ideal customers, their use of social media, missed opportunities from a sales perspective, etc. Make sure to not make generalizations or guess – get hard numbers. Some places to look:
- What is your conversion rate for social media vs. other outreach methods? Can you reach more people using this social media tool?
- How much time will you gain from using this social media tool? Multiple that by the cost of paying you and the tool may literally pay for itself.
- What are other projects or initiatives that you would have time to take on if you had this tool at your disposal? What is the value of that to the company and/or your boss?
- In what ways would you and your company be able to better serve customers/clients with this tool? How will that translate to dollars?
- If the tool you want to use has a free trial, use it and track the results.
Plan Your Move
Even with a solid proposal showing the clear benefits these social media tools, if your timing is wrong it will be difficult to get your point across. Put some thought into how and when you talk to your boss.
- Put your data in writing, ideally in a visual, easy-to-skim format. Bullet points are great for that. You could also grab some screenshots of the social media tool you want approval for (easy if they have a free trial).
- Pick a time of day when your boss is not totally overwhelmed with work. Monday and Friday tend to be the busiest days of the week. And be aware of what meetings and deadlines they are up against too.
- Schedule time. In addition to being aware of their schedule, asking for 15 minutes of their time can help make sure you are not interrupting unintentionally. Don’t say “I want to ask about getting more money for x,” instead let them know the benefit up front. “I have an idea of how we can save time and money in our department and be able to show our value to the higher ups. When can I show you some numbers?” works great.
- Pave the way. Bring coffee, or doughnuts, or a veggie tray. Studies have shown that being “hangry” really is a thing, so make sure your boss has the blood sugar to listen and take the time to hear you out.
Make Your Case
Now that you have the data why spending money on the social media tool of your dreams will save time and money for the company (and make your boss look good), have picked the right time and place, and set the mood, it is time to get down to the nitty gritty.
Put on your salesperson hat. Use some basic communication tactics and you are almost certain to get a resounding – yes!
- Start with the benefits. Let your boss know upfront by the numbers why this will be a great thing (before you even get to cost).
- Use “because” liberally. Even using that word gives more credibility. Don’t take my word for it, because Psychology Today wrote a great article already said it. (See what I did there?)
- Think about possible objections that your supervisor may have and prepare answers ahead of time
- Rather than asking, “so can we get this, yes or no?” ask “Which of their plans do you think is the best fit?”
- If they have objections you hadn’t thought of, be ready to say “Let me find that out for you” and then schedule another time to talk again
Yay! Your boss approved your the budget for your social media tools.
Now you are all done, right?
If you want to make sure they continue to approve this expense in the budget, you have to show how it is following through on the promises you made during the pitch. Continue to track the positive results that this tool is having on your business productivity and effectiveness, and give updates to your supervisor from time to time – even if they don’t expressly ask. That will make it all that much easier the next time around when you want to upgrade your account, or add another tool or more functionality. You will have established trust with your boss that you are able to identify opportunities that are good for the whole team.
What tactics have you used to get your boss to pay for your social media tools? Share on in the commments!