How to Speak C-Suite

October 7th, 2011
by

Ruth Mesfun*

If you mistook the clattering of keyboards for cicadas in heat and saw your Twitter feed explode with the hashtag #prndigital, yesterday, then you were probably with me at the PR News Digital PR Next Practices Summit at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The all-day event was a smorgasbord of useful topics and speakers flinging words such as SEO (search engine optimization), influencers, engagement, and fangate pages.

However, if you have ever spoken to your boss about using social media it probably went like this:

justincaseyouwerewondering.com

justincaseyouwerewondering.com

If your digital campaign does not translate to the C-Suite language (increased sales, decreased costs, or high ROI) then it wouldn’t matter if you grow their Twitter page to 100,000 followers. They will pull the plug. 

Here are eight steps I took from the panel on Prove the Value of Your Digital Efforts to the C-Suite featuring Margot Sinclair Savell, vice president of Measurement and Analytics at Weber Shandwick, Angela Jeffery, APR and member of IPR Commission and Nick Panayi, director of Global Brand and Digital Marketing at CSC.

1.      Define organizational goals. Make sure your goals are strictly C-suite speak. (e.g., Our goal is to increase sales by 30 percent.) That way they see that you are on the same level.

2.      Research stakeholders and prioritize. This should be done regardless if you are presenting a digital campaign or not; you should always know your audience.  

3.      Ask yourself: What do they care about? I want to add in a perfect line from Margot Sinclair Savell, “Don’t just measure communications; measure the impact on your bottom line.” 

4.      Set social media objectives that correlate with their goals. Now this is where you link your social media efforts to their C-suite objectives. (e.g., With the Twitter campaign, we are launching, our goal is to increase our followers by 50 percent and positive sentiment by 40 percent which in turn will increase our sales by 30 percent.)  

5.      Choose (the right) tools and establish benchmarks. Once your campaign has launched, use tools and benchmarks to monitor how your campaign is playing out in The Media. Remember to monitor both the social media goal and the main goal (C-suite objective).

6.      Analyze, Analyze, Analyze! Be sure to use both qualitative and quantitative metrics and have these also tie back to your communications and C-suite objectives.

7.      Present to management. Remember to add charts of correlation between the campaign and the C-suite objectives. Translate metrics into the language.  

8.      Continue to build on that foundation: monitor, analyze, and improve. Review and revamp your strategy and tactics, making sure to revise as departmental and C-suite objectives evolve. 

So, how are you proving your value of your digital efforts to the C-suite? Please share your thoughts with me, here, on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

 ***

Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, as social media specialist, Ruth worked as a marketing assistant in a kitchen design firm and, later interned with Turner Public Relations. She holds a BA in Economics with a minor degree in International Relations from Rowan University. In addition to economics, education, and finance – Ruth is passionate about understanding the business implications of social media, including how it can be used to increase ROI, find and maintain a career, and create a business. Connect with her on Twitter: @RuthMesfun LinkedIn: Ruth Mesfun Facebook: BurrellesLuce

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