BrainTrust Query: ‘I Don’t Use It (Social Media) But I Totally Get It’
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail Prophet Consulting blog.
One thing I hear very often from C-level leaders of companies when I’m presenting on the topic of social business is, "I don’t use it, but I totally get it." They claim to understand the relevance of social networks and social media but simply choose not to use them. They frequently cite a lack of time as their reason for not taking part personally, yet also claim to have a clear sense of how social media can be usefully deployed by their companies to engage consumers. They don’t use it but they totally get it!
Of course only half of the statement is true.
Look at it this way; would your company hire a CMO who had never watched a television program? If your CFO had never constructed a budget, reviewed a P&L or read a balance sheet, would you have faith in them to manage the company’s finances? Chances are we would find this lack of core understanding simply unacceptable. Yet we somehow accept corporate leaders taking a pass on social business. Why is that?
And what precisely is it that is diverting C-level attention away from what is arguably the most significant communication revolution since the printing press? What level of email or voicemail proliferation is depriving them of the five minutes it takes to set up a Twitter profile, just to see what all the fuss is about? Aren’t they even a little interested to see what their customers have to say about them on Facebook? Shouldn’t they be?
The truth is the choice to opt out of social is just that — a choice. And moreover, if it were any other aspect of the business that was being so openly ignored, we would consider it negligent, but because we call this "social", it’s somehow considered extra-curricular and optional. It’s not considered an essential tool, as finance, operations and human resources are.
The C-level leader of the future won’t be excused from social business. At the very least, a solid functional capability and understanding of social networks will be expected — no different than acumen in finance, marketing and supply chain management. The use of social and professional networks both internally and externally will be as common as email is today.
The bottom line is that any corporate leader who claims that social business, media and networking "isn’t for them" is either coasting to retirement or running from their responsibilities.
Discussion Questions: Is it possible to fully understand social media without personal engagement? Is being too busy with other duties to have time for social media a valid excuse for C-Level executives?