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.
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.
“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?
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)
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.