7 things CEOs should know about social media
Social media, content marketing and digital marketing tend to be the domain of… well, the marketing department. But many CEOs have taken social media to heart as a way to engage with their staff as well as with brand ambassadors and loyal (or not-so-loyal!) customers.
You might be surprised to know that the world’s top 50 CEOs are active on social media—primarily on LinkedIn, the business platform of choice. In fact, participation in social media by CEOs has doubled since 2010.
If you’re new to social media, don’t fret. Here is a cheat sheet of the top seven things you should know about social media:
It’s nothing new
Social media is really nothing new, it just looks different than it used to. We used to call it “word of mouth” and essentially it still is; it just happens to be online. And, because it’s online, this word of mouth marketing has much greater reach than it ever did before.
It’s here to stay
Facebook has more than 1.2 billion active accounts. Google+ has more than 300 million active users. LinkedIn has 334 million users. Twitter, 288 million users. Advertising revenues on these platforms continues to rise.
It’s powerful and effective
Because social media provides a platform to reach so many people in so many ways and quite frequently, it is a powerful and effective marketing medium. This is a boon for marketers but can present its own set of problems as well, however. Think of inappropriate posts, such as Kenneth Cole’s infamous attempt to hijack the #Cairo hashtag in 2011 with a distastefully self-promotional Tweet. But savvy social media marketers have learned, in some cases the hard way, how to avoid these pitfalls.
It’s a two-way conversation
With more conventional marketing methods, you have a message sender and a message receiver. Social media allows companies to open up that line of communication allowing them to have a two-way conversation with their customers. While this may be frightening to some, think of the power of being able to get feedback from your customers every day; it’s like having a 24/7 focus group at your fingertips.
It’s a customer service tool
Because of the two-way communication that is unique to social media, many companies are leveraging social media channels to provide customer service. If a customer complains about your brand on Twitter, your customer service team can respond and engage quickly and directly with that customer. In 2009, Comcast made history when Director of Digital Care, Frank Eliason, put together the first customer service Twitter team under the ID @comcastcares. “It’s a little more personal,” said Eliason at the time. “More back-and-forth discussions, and it’s less formal. And it gives immediacy to interactions.”
Every CEO will attest to the importance of tracking the effectiveness of any marketing campaign. The beauty of social media is that it’s all online, so a wealth of data is available to analyze to determine the effectiveness of your social media campaigns. While it’s impossible to know how a billboard influenced people, it’s easy to track a click from LinkedIn to a landing page and a download of your new white paper or latest coupon.
You can fish where the fish are
Social networks are already established, and your customers are already there, interacting with friends, relatives and brands. No need to set up your own network; you can go straight to the pool where the fish are and start listening today. The barriers to entry are low, and the conversations you have there can provide a wealth of engagement and insights.
As CEO, it may not be necessary for you to become an expert in social media, however, as the visionary of your company, it’s important for you to have a good understanding of how you can leverage social networks to monitor and guide conversations about your brand.