Social Media Campfire recently asked me to share some tips on how the value of social media can be effectively communicated to CEOs and other decision makers who are genuinely skeptical towards the business value of social media. It turned out to be a very interesting evening also for me as the Social Media Campfire participants had plenty of insights to share on this topic as well based on their extensive experiences trying to get the message across. Based on our discussion, one thing that I think is noteworthy, is the one of overcoming the pride factor of CEOs who have been truly skeptical.
Now we are dealing with True Laggards
Given that social media no longer can be considered a new phenomenon, one thing to recognize is that executives who are still holding out by refusing to adopt any social media tools for business purposes represent a shrinking group of executives that could only be classified as true laggards in the adoption process. One implication of this is that for them to change their minds, it is going to take a considerable amount of persuasion as many of them likely have expressed deep skepticism toward social media now for a number of years. Thus, they would have to swallow some pride in order to make such an adjustment and for some, this may not come easily.
One way of dealing with this concern is to give them something to take pride in at the same time as they start adopting social media. For example, one can acknowledge that some of the critiques of social media that many skeptics have expressed could have been at least partially warranted. Security issues of an employee sharing too much information have hurt some companies. Others have indeed suffered from employees wasting too much time on social media without much return on their investment to show for it, at least not in the short term. Customers already suffering from information overload not wanting to connect with suppliers on an ever-increasing number of social media platforms. Etc. This way, executives may be better able to start a more nuanced discussion today regarding how social media potentially could add value to their business and in what ways they should act in order to avoid the traps.
A big thanks to all participants at the Social Media Campfire and to the hosts Kathi Kruse, Marieke Hensel, and Chris Voss plus the beautiful locale at Coworking Fullerton / Branding Personality and for more about our discussion, please also check out the recap by Kathi Kruse!