The Forward Observer

How to Explain To Your CEO That Social Media Is Not Optional

CEOs who are new to social media, but who understand the financial benefits can become the most passionate advocates for its use.

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Most CEOs today started their careers before social media had taken hold. As a result, many in top management had already attained some level of success before the era of social media and don’t think of it as something that is important (“I didn’t get where I am with social media!“).

Not surprisingly, there are still some C-suite types who are either not familiar with social media, or worse, view it as a trivial waste of time and resources. It’s as if they’re thinking “Let’s see if this social media thing really catches on and doesn’t turn out to be a fad.”

So for marketers, getting socal media buy in from the executive suite can sometimes be a challenge.

If you’re in that situation and find yourself being more of a teacher/change agent than a marketer these days, this video from Socialnomics author Eric Qualman is a great way to frame the social media discussion.

But if your CEO is like most, it all comes down to the facts and figures (as it should). So to help you make the case for social media with your management and organization, here’s some more ammo:

  • Social media is here to stay. (See above video.)
  • Internet users spend 25% of their time on social networking sites.
  • There are a lot of prospective customers on social media. Facebook has over 1 billion (about half the total worldwide number of people on the Internet), Twitter 170 million, Google+ has 100 million.
  • Social media can help your website get more traffic. A lot more traffic. If your website plays a role in your sales funnel, more traffic is a good thing.
  • With more traffic, there are more opportunities to get more leads. And with more leads comes the opportunity to convert those leads into sales.

Since your CEO probably speaks the language of numbers, here are some more (courtesy of HubSpot).

  • Companies that use Twitter average 200% more leads than those that don’t.
  • 65% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through LinkedIn.
  • 42% of companies that market on Twitter have acquired a customer from it.
  • 67% of Twitter users are more likely to buy the brands they follow.

There are other social media benefits not as easily quantified, but of interest to CEOs as it relates to growing a business:

  • Social media can help build relationships with prospects, your industry and the media.
  • Social media can help provide stellar customer service. You can respond to positive and, more importantly, negative customer comments just like you would if you were answering the phone. And by publicly responding, you are able to demonstrate how you take care of your customers.
  • Social media can help grow your reach and influence. Each follower and fan you have extends your access to more potential customers and brand advocates.
  • Social media helps your company humanize your brand. People don’t generally want to do business with a company as much as they do people whom they know, like and trust.
  • Social media provides social proof. Taken from the field of psychology. The psych textbooks define social proof as “a phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect the correct behavior for a given situation.” If you’ve ever seen a long line outside a restaurant about which you know nothing, that business will have more credibility to you because of the social proof of a long line.
  • Social media promotes social sharing. Everytime your content is shared via a social media, it is like a vote for that content. The search engines take note and return higher results for your content because it has been shared. This social sharing also drives additional inbound links, increasing page rank and influencing organic SEO.

In summary, your CEO should understand that social media is a powerful money-making tool. However, without content social media is like a cannon with no cannonballs.

What is your CEOs attitude toward and understanding of social media? Please join the conversation below. And if this was helpful, please share it with your network.

photo credit: The_Vikkodamus via photopin cc

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