Social Business in the C-Suite

As social media has become mainstream in corporate America, the question remains as to why some top executives are still slow to adopt social business practices. According to Domo & CEO.com’s 2013 Social CEO Report, 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs have absolutely no presence on any of the major social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google Plus). 

Many C-level leaders are simply stuck in a rut. They are at ease with the tactics they have always used and are resistant to trying something new. What has worked in the past is comfortable and familiar to them. However, as Warren Buffett said after joining Twitter,  “Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?" 

Others are afraid to make a mistake and embarrass themselves and their company. Some CEOs are still too frightened to allow their employees to do the same. And let’s face it, erring on the side of caution is not without its merits - there have been quite a few social media blunders by large companies in the past few years.

Finally, some corporate leaders just do not see the value in social media. They tend to be focused on concrete business results and see social as little more than brand mentions or sentiment.   In other words, there is education to be done on the value of social business practices to the enterprise, and the growth of employees.

To make social media a successful part of the enterprise, buy in from the top is of utmost importance. So how do we overcome the objections listed above?

1.  Get them started on social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. 

Whether they start by posting from their personal accounts or as a guest writer or blogger on the corporate account, encourage your C-level executives to participate. Make sure to provide support and training to avoid any potentially embarrassing mistakes.

2.  Simulate a crisis. 

By creating your own worst-case scenario that could occur, you can show the C-suite not only the power of social business but also the potential damage it can cause if the organization hasn't invested in social listening and/or community management.

3.  Show them the metrics. 

Facebook likes. Twitter followers. These are pretty straightforward numbers. But make sure to delve a little deeper. Show your CEO how many re-tweets or shares your content has received and who is talking about your brand without your knowledge and how you can engage in the conversation to improve brand positioning, in both good and bad posts.

Social media is becoming a differentiator in the corporate world. Organizations that choose to learn best practices and establish metrics and systems of measurement now will set the direction for social business success as the organization matures.