Editor’s note: Peter Wylie is a researcher at , a social media marketing company in Raleigh, N.C. He was previously an editor for an online business journalism company in Washington, D.C.

By PETER WYLIE, special to LTW

RALEIGH, N.C. – We talk to marketing professionals every day about the ways social media can impact their business results and drive awareness and sales for their companies. But we also hear that once these VPs of marketing or CMOs have been convinced about the viability of social media as an outreach tool, they often have trouble convincing upper management.

There are three key ways to make the case for adopting a social media outreach plan we reiterate to those who are presenting to skeptical upper management.

1) Competition – If your competitors are engaging in social media, they are actively researching the space and the best way to present your industry’s value proposition on social networks. As social networking increases in popularity, you don’t want to be playing catch-up with your closest competitor, who has already passed experimentation and is now seeing results from social media outreach. Show your management examples of competitive activity in social media to make the case for why you need to begin engaging in the space.

2) Search – Do searches for the top ways you would want your customers to find you through search engines. If your company is not ranking on the first page for these terms, demonstrate that to your management. A targeted content creation campaign can begin to improve your company’s search performance within weeks, making your company more accessible to the customers that are doing research about your product or service using search engines.

3) Engagement – We’ve already demonstrated superior results for clients, in some cases doubling the minutes of engagement for their brand with potential customers in a matter of months. We provide case studies to prospective clients who need to convince management that social media can be effective in raising awareness and generating leads. There is nothing more useful in demonstrating the capability of social media than stories of how it has already helped other businesses.

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