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Social Media Resistance – Breaking the Shell

There are way too many articles about Social media benefits, importance etc.

Even though we all know Social Media can be used for business in different ways (sales, research, customer services, branding, etc) when reality knocks on the door it is a different story.

A simple search on Google will present tons of how/why/when to use Social Media, but (with all respect) most of these guides have been written by users for users.When it comes to selling internally for your company the story changes.

Recent research by EMarketer lists where the level of resistance to Social Media in organisations is higher.

Not a surprise as the higher the executive position the more Social Media Resistance will be found.

Social Media Resistance

You are probably wondering why resistance to Social Media is higher among CEO’s?

My instant response would be, it’s his/her ass on the line. If something goes wrong, they are the first to blame.

People are creatures of habit and CEOs are no different.

It’s just natural for human beings to try to preserve the status quo and to avoid changes leading to  places they don’t know. Fear of the unknown, can manifest in excuses / barriers.

Though 70% of US marketing, management and HR executives say they plan to increase social-media use at their companies, more than 80% say  they are concerned about the risks, and most do not have policies or training in place to avert reputation mishaps or lost productivity.

From a management perspective, the common Global (American) business culture (top-down) might be a tough environment to achieve full social media internal engagement.

Too often I hear consultancy agencies speak about how ’social media’ can be used to achieve a ‘flatter’ organisation. Well, it’s true but the key is to have leaders who understand that they have to adjust their management / leadership habits to allow innovative thinking and to support the process of it, and that’s exactly where the attrition starts.

From MCharts

“Ignoring the need for responsible guidelines can leave an organisation open to unnecessary risk and can impede efforts to use social media proactively and competitively in the marketplace,” said Carol Russell, CEO of Russell Herder.

“Rather than bypass the social media opportunity, organizations should embrace it while taking steps to educate their team about internal guidelines and best practices,”

According to Ethos President David Baer, good social media policies are organisation-specific, but must take into consideration the form, substance, philosophy and culture of the organisation.

Good policies should include “the need to respect confidential and proprietary information; as well as the sensitivity of potential conflicts of interest,” he added.

A recent study by Nucleus Research found that social networking costs employers 1.5% in lost productivity.

Ok, companies should embrace it, but what to do and how to sell it internally?

Companies should be more methodical in their approach to social media, better educating themselves on risks and benefits, and putting into place plans and policies to produce benefits while also minimising risk.

You still need to overcome the internal resistance, how?

Social Media Resistance how to overcome

From Chris Brogan

“You’re probably the most passionate person in your company when it comes to social media. When it comes to explaining this to your senior leadership, a different approach is required. They’re busy. They have other concerns. They might not be as studied up on the tools as you.

Here are some suggestions.
1) Start strong – “I’m thinking that a blog will improve our marketing efforts and overall SEO. I’ve built a plan that shows rough costs, time involvement, and my predictions of what we’ll get for our efforts.”
2) Explain things from the senior view.
3) Use case studies.
4) Find and keep a senior sponsor for the project
5) Finding your top competitor already using the tools, that’s won several social media enthusiasts the chance to get things going.”

At The Online Circle we always find that showing what competition is doing is highly appreciated by CEOs’.

It does 2 things:

1) It gives them a sense of safety and reliability

2) It arouse their sense of competitiveness

After that we then guide them through a logical process, bringing to the light some normally over-looked aspects (liability, IT, Human Resources, etc)

Social Media Steps

To break the shell isn’t easy, but approaching CEO’s and high level executives with a different language, with a non clear plan and without a solid real case is almost asking for a big No.

SUN TZU on The Art of war:

Now the general who wins a battle makes many
calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.
The general who loses a battle makes but few
calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations
lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat:
how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention
to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.

Lucio Ribeiro is Online Circle Digital’s lead strategist. You can find him at @lucio_ribeiro, or

11 Responses to “Social Media Resistance – Breaking the Shell”

  1. Twitter Comment

    How to Sell Social Media Internally | Marketingeasy Internet …: Though 70% of US marketing, management and HR .. [link to post]

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    Posted by vastrat (VaStrat-GeorgeTaylor) | September 19, 2009, 6:40 am
  2. Twitter Comment

    Sell Social Media Internally – Breaking the Resistance [link to post]

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    Posted by lucio_ribeiro (Lucio Dias Ribeiro) | September 20, 2009, 10:03 pm
  3. FriendFeed Comment

    Social Media Resistance – Breaking the Shell – [link to post]

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    Posted by luciodiasribeiro (Lucio Dias Ribeiro) | September 20, 2009, 10:18 pm
  4. Twitter Comment

    Reading @lucio_ribeiro’s post – Social media resistence [link to post] Very true. Higher the position, higher the online sceptism

    Posted using Chat Catcher

    Posted by GemCrowley (Gemma Crowley) | September 23, 2009, 12:59 am
  5. Twitter Comment

    RT @GemCrowley: Reading @lucio_ribeiro’s post-Social media resistence [link to post] Higher the position higher the scepticism

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    Posted by kateodonnell_ (Kate P. O'Donnell) | September 23, 2009, 1:33 am
  6. Twitter Comment

    Reading @lucio_ribeiro’s post – Social media resistence [link to post] Very true.Higher the position higher the online scepticism

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    Posted by GemCrowley (Gemma Crowley) | September 23, 2009, 1:34 am
  7. i think the higher up you get the more resistance to social media you get is the fact that social sites take up so much time, a busy CEO hasn’t got time to use the latest facebook app or spend hours watching an endless stream of tweets but, lower down employees use social sites not just for marketing but for passing the time ‘coz they don’t have so many ‘important’ things to do like keep the company running!
    .-= Andy Bailey´s last blog ..Twitter Field in all comment forms =-.

    Posted by Andy Bailey | September 27, 2009, 2:55 pm
  8. Twitter Comment

    Getting a real dose of reality from “How to Sell Social Media Internally” by @lucio_ribeiro: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

    Posted by Mrgareth (Gareth Llewellyn) | September 28, 2009, 6:39 am
  9. Senior management certainly are hesitant to invest in social media. At the moment they perceive tha there is no real science behind social media at the moment. I think that in a few years time there will be far more tools to help increase reporting features and create some more measurable data and give management more confidence at investing in social media. Microsoft are working on some great tools at the moment.
    .-= Shout SEO´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

    Posted by Shout SEO | October 7, 2009, 9:48 am


  1. Twitter Comment

    Why Companies still resist using #SocialMedia [link to post]

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  2. Twitter Comment

    RT @theonlinecircle: Why Companies still resist using #SocialMedia [link to post]

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