How to talk social to an anti-social CEO

ORLANDO – You know your business has to be in social media to reach its customers. You’re all stoked about getting your CEO on Twitter to start building his legions of followers and propping up your brand.

Trouble is your CEO has no idea what a hashtag is and thinks communicating in 140 characters or less is useless, so what do you do? Don’t mention hashtags and followers, of course, says Pam Moore, social media expert and principal of social media consultancy group Marketing Nutz.

You need to know how to talk in a language that your CEO understands, according to Moore, whose Twitter handle is @PamMktgNut.

“Followers and impressions mean nothing to this type of CEO,” according to Moore, during her session titled “Bridging the Social Divide – C-Suite and Beyond” at the IBM Connect 2014 conference.

“You need to use words he can understand such as revenue and ROI.”

C-suite executives that are hesitant to dip into the social media fray “are often afraid that they’ll have to talk about what they ate for lunch on Twitter.”

“There’s a sense that they need to be authentic to be on social media, but transparency is being confused with authenticity,” Moore says. “You need to tell your CEO that they don’t need to tweet about their lunch to be authentic.”

There is also typically a misconception in business about social media and what it can deliver, she says, and it all boils down to mindset.

For instance, Moore explains, recent surveys indicate that 76 per cent of marketers believe they know what their customers want. About 59 per cent of social customers want their feedback to be heard by companies they deal with, but only 34 per cent of marketers think this type of service is in demand.

She also says that many organizations fail to make the distinction between social media, which are tools and technology used to communicate inside the social space and social business. That’s “so much bigger” than any social site and it encompasses practices and technology that touch the business realm.

Moore says that business bosses need to realize that building a social community around the company brand can translate, in the long term, into profits.

For instance, social followers, can develop into customers and even loyal evangelists that will promote your brand to their friends and followers.

Apart from learning how to talk about social media benefits in those terms, Moore also offered up a short list of some social media dos and don’ts:

1) DO align social media efforts to top business goals. Make a short list of your most important business goals. This could include things such as customer satisfaction, improved productivity, better customer experience, or building profit. From here, determine how and what type of social media presence can support your goals.

2) DO establish metrics for measuring how your social media efforts are performing.

3) DON’T be unrealistic about where your organization is in social media. Determine which area of the business needs a social media presence and if that area needs help, and what tools you might be missing.

4) DO identify your community, nurture it by providing relevant content, establishing lines of communication, being honest and listening. In short, be a “real person” in social media.

5) DON’T fake it. There are many companies offering followers and likes for sale. These can only hurt your brand in the long run, as there are also many tools now to determine if followers are genuine or not.

6) DO activate influencers in your organization,  within your social community. There will be influencers that people follow and listen to. Connect with them and empower them because they can be helpful in building your brand.

“There’s no shortcut to reaping the rewards of social,” says Moore. “You need to think DNA, not tools. Think about how you can get in the head of your employer, employees, partners and community.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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