Last month I had a conversation with the Chief Marketing Officer of Target, Jeff Jones, over Twitter about social media in business. We discussed the article If Your CMO Isn’t Social, How Can You Have a Social Business, in which Jure Klepic points out that only 20% of Fortune 100 CMO’s are active on any social media networks. He claims that the majority of CMO’s are either waiting for the fad to pass, or are ill-equipped to lead their company to success with social media.
Mr. Jones pointed out that the readiness to become a social business doesn’t necessarily fall totally into the hands of the CMO. I agree completely.
First of all, if your CEO is nowhere to be found on social media, that tells me all I need to know about your readiness to become a social business. If your executive team isn’t all in across the board and doesn’t see enough value in social media to use it themselves, that is where you need to start. You won’t succeed at being a social business without them. Educate them. Listen to their fears. Show them data and case studies. Show them what the competition is (or isn’t) doing. Show them the opportunities.
I’ve heard some executives say that they don’t like social media, that they don’t like the concept. Well, that’s understandable. They may be frustrated that their kids are checking their Facebook instead of engaging in conversation at the dinner table. They may be dumbfounded as to why anyone would ever want to post personal details about their life and thoughts onto the internet for anyone to see.
I get it. It’s sort of a weird concept. But it’s a weird concept that is fully embraced by 69% of adults who access the internet in the United States.
Social media isn’t something you “believe in” anymore. It’s not the tooth fairy. It has produced measurable results for companies across the board, and is the new mode of communication. Now, you can either continue to fight it and think that you are too big to fail, or you can begin to lay the groundwork of how your business is going to fully integrate with this new layer of communication that is not going away.