It’s even more important in today’s economy to embrace and use social media as a staple in the marketing mix. From blogger engagement, community management, content creation and copy development – brands must learn to properly add social media to their marketing mix or hire a firm. Either learn or hire out. This is the best was to reach target audiences 24 hours a day, seven days a week – very cost effectively.
There has been mixed reviews when companies, as opposed to employees, are transparent and join social networks. Some companies are hesitant because of how their brand may be portrayed online. When they open the door for consumer feedback through open dialogue, the responses and comments may not always be so positive. Years ago it was a must-have for a company to have a website as a place for consumers to shop or learn more about the company. As years progress and technology is used for different communication tactics, companies must also change and communicate in ways that are identifiable with their consumers, such as social networks.
Public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and PRWeek recently conducted a survey of 200 U.S. CEOs and the results include data on how these individuals view social media/social networks, how often they use the tools, and how they view the tools as profitable from a company perspective. More than half of the CEOs believe that word of mouth, trade media and blogs have increased their influence on a company’s business in comparison to less than half believing that traditional media outlets, such as CNN and the National evening news, have the same influence. 43% of the CEOs use social media as a personal account at least a few times a week. More surprisingly 25% say that they never use social media!
That 25% completely shocks me. I’m not sure who the CEOs are, but these are the individuals who are running top corporations. How can they make decisions about what their consumers like if they are not aware of the conversations that are happening online? Only thing I can hope is that someone on their team is aware of these conversations and is more perceptive and can leverage what their consumers want from the company.
From the survey only 29% of the CEOs state that social media, as a corporate communications tool, is very or extremely effective. I understand that a large number of CEOs may be unfamiliar with the space. In my opinion, the CEOs that are not familiar have the mindset that social media is ineffective. One CEO who does understand the importance of social media is Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh. He has a Twitter profile with 19k+ followers. Some of these people are a fan of the brand, but more people are fans of the innovative way he communicates to consumers on behalf of Zappos. He talks about things happening at the company, things happening in his life; both of which can reach the 20k+ people who are following him simultaneously in 140 characters.
It will take months for the remaining 71% of CEOs who believe social media is either somewhat effective or not effective to catch up to those CEOs who understand the importance and are working daily to portray their brand as a web 2.0 established company. Regardless of the amount of time it takes these CEOs, being open to the idea and being educated about the tools are the first steps to reaching consumers in a forever-changing technology platform.