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Social Media Reality Slap

When you think about the most stressful and perhaps challenging situations in your career, do a handful of instances come to mind?

Most of us can pretty easily recall our top 5, perhaps even top 10.   For me, one of the most memorable, yet stressful ones was when I was on a conference call with 27 senior executives from Goldman Sachs trying to close a $700K enterprise social media contract.  It was the first software as a service (SaaS) purchase in the history of their company, from what I was told by one of their team members, which is why we had such a large audience.  And, I was sitting in a hotel room in Las Vegas hosting an online meeting on a wireless network.   Did we close the deal?  Yes, we did.    Did I age two or three years during that call?  Check.

Then there are others that actually were not nearly as stressful, but memorable when I look back.  I recall meeting with the senior management team at the Direct Marketing Association in NY back in 2006 about the future of social media and communities.   When we arrived after our six hour journey to NYC, we hustled upstairs and everyone was waiting for us.  By the time we left an hour plus later, their executive team got into a pretty heated debate that there was no way social media and communities were the wave of the future for marketers.   Now, it is a key part of their curriculum.

Five years have passed and I am no longer running around trying to generate interest in social media and drive revenue for our enterprise social media company.   However, it surfaced these memories when I saw a great post by Marketing Profs that CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies shun social media per The 2012 Fortune 500 Social CEO Index.  Have you seen it?  I would strongly recommend you check it out.  It is really well done.

It states that:

I have seen a lot of chatter about how surprisingly low these statistics are.  Personally, I am impressed with how far things have come on the social journey that has just begun and think this is a great sign.

Let’s face it CEO’s are busy.  There is a lot of noise in social channels.  It is hard enough to get a 30 minute meeting on a CEO’s calendar, is it realistic to expect one to tweet or Pin pictures all day?  As the image below from the survey indicates, there are many reasons why there is a lag.

Why CEO's don't use Social Media.

Research is from May 2012 and image provided by CEO.com and sponsored by Domo

Do we have realistic expectations that CEO’s  at Fortune 500 companies can maintain a strong social profile and presence?

When it becomes simple for them to use social media to solve business issues, hear the voice of their customers, and drive shareholder value, I think we will see more embrace it to listen and review the data.  That doesn’t require them to have a strong social presence.  I think it is a bit unrealistic to expect them to be power participants.

What do you think – should CEO’s prioritize social media on their calendars?

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Showerman/513365806 Derek Showerman

    Love this post. Until the CEO’s of the largest organizations start using Social, the ROI question will continue to be a stumbling block. Michael Dell is the CEO that does it right and the success of the Dell business could be considered a case study of success for Social Media. 

    • http://www.justellus.com MJ

      Derek –

      Dell is a great example. It has not been an easy journey for them but they have certainly reaped the benefits.

      Thx.
      MJ

    • http://twitter.com/mwallcomm Mark Wallace

      Derek –
      Dell is a great example. It has not been an easy journey for them but they have certainly reaped the benefits.
      Thx.MJ

  • Connie

    I agree in theory with Derek, CEO’s have to really roll their sleeves up and spend some time understanding and finding a way to LIKE the most popular social media platforms.  I think about Dan? can’t remember his name, the owner of Red Mango, who is front and center of their social media presence.  Or Zappos policy on social media that embraces employee involvement.  I’m talking about GENUINE and real participation, not someone acting as if the CEO does have an interest and it turns out he/she doesn’t even know how to spell Pinterest.  That’s not good. And probably the best example of social media being fabricated (with all due respect) is in the federal government.  I spent many years working as both a politico and a careerist in government and as I talk to people now about social media in government, of course they will say they are transparent, but yet their policies on social media are about as open as the Secret Service. So I say if you are going to do social, keep it real and actually, listen, engage and respond!

  • Connie

    I agree in theory with Derek, CEO’s have to really roll their sleeves up
    and spend some time understanding and finding a way to LIKE the most
    popular social media platforms.  I think about Dan? can’t remember his
    name, the owner of Red Mango, who is front and center of their social
    media presence.  Or Zappos policy on social media that embraces employee
    involvement.  I’m talking about GENUINE and real participation, not
    someone acting as if the CEO does have an interest and it turns out
    he/she doesn’t even know how to spell Pinterest.  That’s not good. And
    probably the best example of social media being fabricated (with all due
    respect) is in the federal government.  I spent many years working as
    both a politico and a careerist in government and as I talk to people
    now about social media in government, of course they will say they are
    transparent, but yet their policies on social media are about as open as
    the Secret Service. So I say if you are going to do social, keep it
    real and actually, listen, engage and respond! 

    • http://www.justellus.com MJ

      Hi Connie –

      Thanks for the reply. Companies founded on transparency like Zappos are the ones everyone strives to become. It is really hard for companies and their key stakeholders to evolve from being closed to embracing transparency.

      Great advice – keep it real, and actually listen, engage, and respond.

      Thx.

      MJ

    • http://twitter.com/mwallcomm Mark Wallace

      Hi Connie –
      Thanks for the reply. Companies founded on transparency like Zappos are the ones everyone strives to become. It is really hard for companies/government agencies and their key stakeholders to evolve from being closed to embracing transparency. 
      Great advice – keep it real, and actually listen, engage, and respond.
      Thx.
      MJ