Over recent years, social media has become one of the most talked about topics in marketing and rightfully so. Social Media can be a valuable tool for organizations. It allows them to not only stay connected with their customers and clients, but also continually shape their brand’s image. With more than 340 million daily Tweets and 200+ million registered members on LinkedIn, social media platforms have presented numerous opportunities for companies to strengthen their brands.
In order for social media to be successful, though, C-level executives must own and buy into the concept. Simply having an employee tweet once a week and write a blog once in a while is not nearly enough. Moreover, there should be guidelines on how to use social media in alignment with the company’s brand and business strategy.
So what is reasonable in terms of resources and oversight? According to a recent blog by McKinsey & Company, this is a topic that many C-level executives struggle with when they consider leveraging social media. The McKinsey blog attributed two primary factors to the C-suite’s dilemma around wholeheartedly supporting social media – how to use it and what metrics to use to measure it. Executives are aware that customers and clients use social media as a channel to discuss brands and seek advice, but they aren’t sure as to when and how to engage in these conversations. And, without a clear way to measure social media’s financial impact, C-suite executives are hesitant to allocate significant resources to an activity whose ROI is uncertain.
Dinte Executive Search works with many clients facing these same issues. While it is clear that different companies will vary in their level of engagement with social media, it is also clear that C-Suite buy-in is critical. Below are a few observations from our recent discussions with clients and candidates:
1. Branding and Messaging. Buy-in from C-suite executives is the key to presenting a clear, consistent message to clients, customers, and employees.
2. Investment. Executives must be able to see social media’s value add. At the same time, realistic expectations need to be set in terms of what the ROI could be and how long it might take. Only when these two issues are addressed can executives determine the appropriate level of investment in social media.
3. Guidelines. Social platforms can present numerous opportunities for organizations to strengthen their image and engagement with customers. These opportunities could also be risks without clear and clearly communicated guidelines from leadership to all employees about how to use social media. It is important to consider not only how the social media expert is leveraging Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and other platforms, but also how employees overall are impacting the corporate brand and image in the marketplace.
What has your company experienced?