(Below is a re-post from ProActive Communications’ President Mark Serrano from his blog, PowerTrip)

If you consider that most CEO’s are aged between their 50’s and early 60’s, then you can assume that most of them have very modest technical skills and virtually no social media skills. This can be a real challenge for digital media leaders in companies across the landscape who have to demonstrate that new media solutions deliver bottom-line value.

One only need to look at recent PR and crisis communications disasters (see: The 11 Biggest PR Disasters Of 2011) to know that building digital platforms for networking to the news and trade media, industry analysts, customers, and others must be established as a fundamental part of every company’s business mission today. Sure, most large organizations now have an integrated online presence, but many of them are still not leveraging the arsenal of options to their greatest business advantage (see: 50% of Companies Entering Social Media Have No Plan).

In order to build support for digital solutions in your organization, and teach old dogs new tricks, here are some important tips:

Don’t tell them, show them

Like seeing a sonogram of a baby in the womb for the first time, one’s world can change when he or she witnesses powerful things first hand. While nothing can compare to new life, seeing for yourself how the online eco-system works and how it can extend your company’s visibility exponentially is very powerful. When selling your digital solutions vision, don’t just discuss it with the old dogs (talk is cheap!) and don’t just demonstrate them with online samples. Build a beta version of an online portfolio with an integrated blog, social media, and more, and develop a meaningful case study example of how you will engage it for your business.

Include video in the plan

Video productions are far more affordable to develop and deliver than at any time in history. Whether you are pitching a product, service, policy, or any message internal or external, pictures tell the best stories. Create a plan for a modest draft video production and prove to your leadership how it will work for your organization. You can also show them how FedEx stopped a PR crisis fast by addressing a bad delivery video from a home owner, which went viral with 8.5 million views, through a series of tweets and a video message of their own that they released on their blog within a day of the initial incident (see: bad delivery man and good corporate response).

Put the decision makers in the driver’s seat

Require all of your top executives to open one social media account and maintain it for one week. This will enlighten them about the vast networking potential of these tools. Then script a brief good news message about the company that would ostensibly be used to send to employees and ask them to deliver it in front of a webcam. While this video does not necessarily have to be used, it will get the executives thinking about how visuals sell better than print alone.

Measure and demonstrate the results…often

Most leaders like data, so give it to them. When they can see on a routine basis analytics charts and graphs that show growth in your platforms and visibility with real numbers, they will be sold and they will want more. This will lead both to a growing digital solutions program for your organization and job security for the digital team – a true Win-Win!

Continue the conversation on Facebook and Twitter with @ProActiveComm and @MarkVSerrano.

Photo Credit – Michael Williamson