Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of speaking on Social Media in front of thousands of businesses. Some events would consist of CEOs in private sessions so that they could ask the stupid questions without their VP of Marketing being in the room. Here’s a few things that I’ve learned along the way:
1. CEOs are afraid of Social Media – While presenting the new world order on social sharing, transparency and community buying power, a lot of them would shake their heads and claim that it is ‘All too much to consume!’ I would agree that a lot has happened over the past 10 years, but it is nothing to be afraid of. It may force you to think about new ways of doing business, marketing your products and treating your customer, but it is fundamentally the easiest time in history to market your products. Consumers are embracing information like never before and it’s the best opportunity to launch a new product, or rejuvenate an old one.
2. They don’t know what they don’t know. I’ve heard this expression more and more these days, and it almost seems like an excuse to not engage the new social changes that are taking place. My challenge has always been to these leaders that they can learn in minutes. So you don’t know what a hashtag is…. GOOGLE IT! Ask someone under 30 and get schooled in Social Media in a few minutes. It won’t take you years to get caught up, just a few hours of actually making an effort. My company holds regular workshops to get business owners / marketing managers up to speed in Social and you’ll be amazed how far these people get in just one day! PS – This is not just a cheap plug to get more attendees to our workshops; they are not our core business focus, but simply a way that we enjoy connecting with new businesses!
3. They believe that they will never understand Social Media. This is simply not true (for anyone that is willing). I challenge any business owner that at one point of their career they needed to learn how to play golf to fit in. They needed to learn how to have a conversation about the economy, they needed to know a thing or two about good wine, and social media is no different. If you want to join the conversation, you may want to start by arriving to the party.
I find it concerning in a time of rapid change, many organization’s leaders are paralyzed in fear about the unknown. Fear will only further dig the laggard-sized grave that is quickly approaching with every technological advancement, and not promote those who follow you to advance themselves.
If you want my advice, let someone know your fears and dive into Social Media head first. Get on Twitter. Start a blog. Start posting real pictures on Facebook. Even if you are doing it as a ‘test’ account at first, you need to join the conversation before another year goes by.