How to Teach Your Boss About the Social World Outside of Facebook & Twitter

Your boss finally relented and gave in to a company Facebook page. He okayed your request to join “the Twitter.” But when it comes to the other social media sites of the world? He’s more clueless than your 90-year-old grandma.

Whether you’re selling a company Google+ page or trying to open your boss’s eyes to the joys of Pinterest, here’s your ultimate guide to explaining the likes of Tumblr and StumbleUpon to your technophobe boss.

1.) LinkedIn

Image: Adriano Gasparri via Flickr

Why you should mention it: LinkedIn is the Facebook of the professional world. Whether you’re focused on attracting new employees or new clients, your company can’t afford to skip out on all LinkedIn has to offer.

How you should sell it: 

  • LinkedIn business pages don’t follow the same one-size-fits-all approach as Facebook business pages: they’re completely customizable for different audiences. We can even post promotions or targeted specials directly on our LinkedIn page.
  • No site makes hiring and recruiting new employees easier. LinkedIn allows companies to post new jobs, browse resumes, or target potential recruits directly on the site.
  • We’re missing out on a huge opportunity to gain credibility in our field. Answering questions and providing advice on LinkedIn Answers and LinkedIn Groups is an easy way to establish our authority in the industry.

Seal the deal: Mention that LinkedIn profiles and pages tend to rank highly on Google, so you’re missing out on a chance to expand your brand-controlled search results. You can also track your page’s progress through LinkedIn’s analytics pages — and what’s more, you can compare your own analytics with similar companies in your industry.

2.) Pinterest

Image: dabbleicious via Flickr

Why you should mention it: It’s only the fastest-growing social network of the year…and the ladies love it. Besides, the site sends direct links and tons of killer traffic your way — more than LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube combined (according to Shareaholic).

How you should sell it: 

  • Pinterest is the hottest social site around. If we jump on now, we’ll be just in time to catch floods of brand-new users itching to find brands to follow. If we can catch them now, we’ll grab followers before the site gets over-saturated.
  • It’s an instant way to communicate our brand. Internet users are flighty: if we can grab their attention with a standout headline and an eye-catching image, they’ll be more likely to check out our posts (as opposed to text on Twitter or tiny thumbnails on Facebook).
  • It proves we’re on the cutting edge, and it’ll take minimal effort to maintain (unlike Twitter and Facebook, which require a lot of one-on-one responses and interaction).

Seal the deal:  Point out how many of your competitors are already busy pinning away. If you’re first? Well, go ahead and point that out — you’ll be at the forefront of the trend.

3.) Google+

Image: Fabrizio Van Marciano via Flickr

Why you should mention it: It’s time to stop seeing G+ as a Facebook competitor and start realizing its potential as an SEO powerhouse. Thanks to the introduction of Google Social Search, Google+ and the +1 button are revolutionizing the way we search.

How you should sell it:

  • G+ may not have Facebook’s numbers, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Google+ is still relatively uncluttered, so our posts won’t get buried under game apps, news articles, and constant status updates (unlike users’ oversaturated news feeds on Facebook.)
  • G+ profiles and pages rank highly on Google. When someone searches our company, they’ll ideally see our website, our G+profile, and our LinkedIn profile in the top three rankings — meaning the top results will be brand-controlled and owned by us.
  • Google now shows miniature G+ avatars beside search results. Searchers also see your circle numbers; they can click “More by…” to see more articles written by our company. Without a G+ page, we’re missing out on a huge opportunity to stand out in the SERPs.

Seal the deal: If you mention nothing else about Google+, mention this: Having a G+ page grants you instant access to your followers’ search results through Google Social Search. Let’s say you’ve got a blog post that consistently ranks at #17 for your targeted keyword phrase. Share that post on Google+ and your entire G+ network now sees it on the first page of their Google Social Search results for the same keyword phrase. Jumping from #17 to #2 in the search rankings? That’s a pretty amazing advantage of G+.

4.) Foursquare

Image: Gustovo Pimento via Flickr

Why you should mention it: If you’ve got a brick-and-mortar business (or a strong connection to brick-and-mortars), Foursquare is a no-brainer. Set up mobile-only discounts and promotions, advertise a sale, post tips, and — most importantly — help customers find your business while they’re on the go.

How you should sell it:

  • Foursquare shows users nearby discounts and specials wherever they go. If someone heads to the salon across the street, they’ll see our sale and our location.
  • Foursquare also tailors search results based on the users’ activity. If someone checks into three similar businesses, for example, they may see our business as a personal recommendation for that user.
  • It’s a low-key social marketing strategy: unlike Facebook and Twitter, Foursquare doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.

Seal the deal: Foursquare isn’t just about luring in new customers. It’s also about rewarding the ones you already have. Tell your boss about repeat specials (“Check in five times to receive a free coffee!”) that’ll help keep those first-time customers coming back for more.

5.) StumbleUpon

Image: Promo Blog via Flickr

Why you should mention it: The mega-popular social bookmarking site StumbleUpon is second only to Facebook in driving referral traffic. If you’re running any kind of content development and marketing strategy, you need to start submitting your links to StumbleUpon.

How you should sell it:

  •  Most sites rely on a direct link or a search term to get visitors onto their site. StumbleUpon is different: users enter topics they’re interested in, and StumbleUpon lets them “stumble upon” (get it?) sites they never would’ve found otherwise — including our site.
  • We can drive further traffic by optimizing link submissions with relevant keywords that match our content, getting us targeted traffic without having to worry about how we rank in the SERPs.
  •  StumbleUpon brings serious traffic with a minimal effort on our part. We write a post, we submit the link, and StumbleUpon drives the traffic for us. What’s not to love?

Seal the deal:  Let’s not forget that StumbleUpon is a form of free advertising. Even with lower conversion rates, it’s worth the small effort it requires to get a traffic boost.

6.) Tumblr

Image: íŽ¸ì§‘장 via Flickr

Why you should mention it: Sometimes you need to tweet. Sometimes you need to blog. Sometimes you need a combination of the two — and for that, there’s Tumblr.

How you should sell it:

  • Tumblr had 44 million users as of November 2011 — it’s a large-scale loyal audience that’s too large to ignore. Plus, the site has a decidedly younger vibe than the stuffier WordPress crowd. It’s a great way to target a younger audience.
  • Tumblr’s “reblog” feature (similar to Twitter’s retweet) allows our content to be shared and spread like wildfire. It’s a fast-paced alternative to traditional blogging.
  • Tumblr is designed for fast, frequent postings. Whereas blogs (typically) only post about 3-5 times a week, Tumblr users often post several times a day. It’s an ideal way to stay connected and present in our customers’ minds.

Seal the deal: Is your boss concerned about getting lost in the clutter? Tell him about Tumblr’s new highlighted post options, which features your important posts for just $1.

Finally: Come Prepared

When in doubt, come to your boss armed with data about how your competitors are using social media to their advantage. Pitch a few campaign ideas for your targeted social media sites and list concrete ways each site will help the company.

Lastly, don’t pitch every site on this list (at least, not all at once!). Pick one or two that will best help your company and start from there. You’ll be setting up your first company Pinterest board or Google+ hangout in no time.