How to Convince Your Boss to Twitter

I get asked this at least once a week, “How do I convince my boss to Twitter?” This is usually asked by an enthusiastic Twitter user whose boss thinks it is a complete waste of time. The Twitterer sees the value. They just haven’t been able to get their boss to see it.

A Twitter User Trying to Hatch

Admittedly, not everyone should Twitter. A couple of decades ago, Bill Cosby had a comedy routine about cocaine. He says to an enthusiast, “What is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful?”

The enthusiast responds, “Because it intensifies your personality.”

Cosby quips, “But what if you are a jerk?”

The same can be said of Twitter. It is an amplifier. If your boss is a jerk, boring, or self-absorbed, it will only make that fact more apparent. So, admittedly, not everyone should Twitter.

But let’s assume you are past that. You think your boss is interesting and a good ambassador for the company. You think that it would be great if they would Twitter. How do you convince him or her to do so? I suggest the following seven-steps:

  1. Make a carefully thought-out, structured pitch. Start by booking a meeting with your boss. Show up with an agenda. Don’t make the meeting too long. You can cover everything in 30 minutes.
  2. Ask them to watch “Twitter in Plain English.” This is a two-minute YouTube video introduction to Twitter. Bring your laptop to the meeting. Have it queued up and play it before you go further. Nearly everyone has heard of Twitter; few are willing to admit that they don’t really understand it.
  3. Give him example of other business leaders who Twitter. There are a number of very busy CEOs who Twitter. (Implied message: “Surely you are not busier that these CEOs, are you?”)
  4. Give them a solid business rationale. I recently surveyed my readers on this. Here are the top seven responses to the question, “Why should your boss Twitter?”
    • It puts a human face on the company.
    • It provides a “listening station” for monitoring your company’s brand.
    • It will help create visibility for your company.
    • It provides a platform for unveiling important news.
    • It establishes them as a “thought leader” and early adopter.
    • It is FREE marketing.
    • It takes less than 20 minutes a day
  5. Encourage them to “try before they buy.” When I first heard about Twitter, I thought it was the dumbest thing I had ever heard of. However, my friend, Randy Elrod, challenged me to try it for 30-days. I would recommend your boss try it for 14 days. If he still thinks it’s a waste of time, no problem. At least he will know have first-hand experience and be able to speak from a position of first-hand knowledge.
  6. Get him signed up. Don’t leave this to chance. Strike while the iron is hot You can sign him up right in his office. It only takes 60 seconds. While you are at it, show him how to follow a few key people, starting with you. Get him to make at least one update.
  7. Ask him to read a quick introduction to Twitter. This is precisely why I wrote “The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter.” I assume nothing in the post. It will answer all the questions he is too embarrassed to ask. It is very basic.

Finally, I would encourage to keep it simple. Don’t make it too complicated. Don’t talk about PeopleBrowsr or TweetDeck. Don’t discuss the merits of yFrog vs. TwitPic. Forget all that. There will be plenty of time for that later.

Your mission here is simple: Get your boss Twittering. Everything else is secondary.

Question: Is your boss Twittering? If not, why not? If so, how did you get him or her to start?
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  • http://www.zackblair.net Zack Blair

    Thanks!

    This really helps!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

    I should also note that this may also be helpful in trying to get clients or authors to Twitter.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    Mike,

    This really is a very well written, well constructed guide. I think it will be very useful to many people.

    Thank you for taking the time to do this. We should also add you as one of the leading CEO's who Twitter!

  • http://twitter.com/BLichtenwalner @BLichtenwalner

    @Peter_P – agreed.
    @MichaelHyatt – 30 Minute meeting scheduled. I'll let you know how it goes.

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  • http://www.faithbarista.com FaithBarista Bonnie

    Good summary.

    Here's the order I'd take for the seven steps you listed:

    I would go with #3 & #6 first. Mention it in passing, in conversation, after a meeting or as we're waiting for one to start. If we've wrapped up a 1-1 and it wasn't one heavy with issues, I'd definitely offer signing him up in his office. This is a good one and fun to do.

    Then, as a follow up, I'd shoot, in a VERY SHORT email to him/her, #1-4, 7, with links and just a few words with each link. As a resource for him/her later, so it's ready for reference in his/her inbox.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    Next, could you write an article on how to get your boss to STOP using twitter if he's a jerk?

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  • http://twitter.com/johnflurry @johnflurry

    Great post Mike. I have been waiting for you to write this for some time. I took the heretic route (via encouragement from Seth G.) in my day job. I started twitter and a blog while under the radar. It turned into an amazing tool for our company, plus it was a blast. We still don't have our ED on twitter but I am sure we are close. Thanks again. Wonderfully written and explained.

  • http://twitter.com/pcubsfan @pcubsfan

    Twitter is indeed a great marketing tool. It is effective in building Internet stat-ups, including the site I work for, Everyday Christian.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/moraw moraw

    Mike: Do you have a post about how to ask your wife to change from Fcbook to Twitter and their advantages (as keep more privacy??).

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/DerekDRobertson DerekDRobertson

    Well you have a great point about the amplification and it almost makes me wonder if you have been spying on my current employment. He is all the bad stuff you described and he knows I am twitter nut. So I don't think I will be pitching it to him. Thanks for this post.

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  • http://www.christopherhopper.com Chrstopher Hopper

    He's not. Yet. I've been subtly implying it for months now. OK, not so subtly. But reading this, I at least have upped the ante significantly. Thanks for the guidance (as always!). ch:
    My recent post Managing the Moster

  • http://usaecon.ru/182/ Никита Рыбин

    Прикольная статья, кстати автору хочу предложить установить от яндекс.денег фишку на сайт “Дай рубль”. Я бы дал, так сказать на поддержание. ;)

  • http://zarligv.ru/138/ нeжнaя

    Интересно! Вообще, забавно наблюдать , когда в считанные часы совершенно без малейшего повода из пальца высасывается подобный “новостной сюжет” и начинает широко гулять по всем блогам. :)

  • http://www.joyeggerichs.com Joy Eggerichs

    Yes…I am working on my father, Emerson Eggerichs…a.k.a. "my boss." Maybe you should give him a nudge too? (-:

  • http://www.sharifkhan.com Sharif Khan

    Excellent article that makes a cogent business case for twittering! Btw, love the graphic design and simple elegance of your site.

  • http://twitter.com/obihaive Joseph Sanchez

    Not a bad idea…Still not sure I’d follow my boss if she twittered. Might be a little awkward..lol.

  • Kathyfannon

    Twitter and Facebook is something my boss asked me about when I interviewed because he’s not into social media and yet recognizes the value. I’ve been on the job for one month and it looks like we’ll get things up and running in July! I’m so excited I will get to be in charge of this area!

  • http://jennyrain.com JennyRain

    What is we work in a church…same strategy? Same tactics?

  • Sarah

    Thanks for this article. There are quiet a few out there that offer up the most obvious reasons but no solid way of approaching a BUSINESS-minded person.

    I’m a graphic designer trying to convince our boss that having a Linked-In account would help us get clients/web traffic to our website. However, I have no idea how to present it to him using his “language”. I’ll try the above tips…but I think I’ll have to limit my presentation to 5 minutes! I doubt I could talk for half an hour. I haven’t made a presentation since high school!

  • epikvision

    Mike, i hope to convince my church that we need to adopt social networks to its limits.    Your guide is very very helpful, thank you.

  • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

    Funny, I clicked through one of your Tweets. I think this is the first time I read this article. 
    I know that Bill Cosby routine. He didn’t say “jerk.” =)

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  • Sm.strategist

    “How to convince your boss to Tweet… or use twitter”…….not to twitter. That makes it sounds like you aren’t familiar with the platform