Social Media Mythbusting For The C-Suite

by on 06/10/2010 • 5 Comments | Social Media

Earlier this week Marty Weintraub had a fantastic article on Search Engine Land called How To Turn Your Social Media Averse Boss Into Your Champion. In his post, Marty outlined five different strategies to help turn your boss from “social media wary” into “social media evangelist”. Marty illustrated that the more you can identify and measure success, the more you can take away the scariness behind social and help your boss see social media for what it really is – a profitable marketing strategy.

But sometimes your boss is more than just wary about social media. Sometimes your boss, or your boss’ boss, simply objects to it. And that means before you can have the second conversation that Marty so beautifully outlines, you have to have a first conversation. One where you debunk their initial social media myths and show them why social media is important to the organization, not made of goblins, demons and blood-thirsty customers.

Before you get buy in, you gotta do some old fashioned some social media mythbusting

Myth 1: Social Media, like Trix, is for kids.

No, it’s not. It’s a marketing channel. Social media aids lead generation through actions like distributing your content, allowing you to hand pick clients, delivering trusted referrals, connecting you with other professionals and pre-qualifying you for jobs. All of that is why social media was recently named the number one emerging channel for lead generation and shown to double business leads. Social media isn’t for kids. It’s for any business that uses relationships to build and keep clients.

Worth noting, Scott Stratten had a great post earlier in the week about what he’s received from his 50,000 tweets (other than early onset carpal tunnel). That post really hit the nail on the head for me.

Myth 2: There’s No ROI In Social Media.

Lies we tell ourselves.

There is ROI in social media. To find it, you have to break the next myth.

Myth 3: Social Media Can’t Be Measured

Measuring social media is the same as measuring any other marketing tactic. You need to create your key performance indicators (KPIs) and then be consistent about measuring them. In his post, Marty outlines a number of KPIs that businesses may want to use so you can check out his post to find those.

A sample taken from Marty’s list:

  • Measure new and retained unique friends at measurable CPUF (cost per unique friend).
  • Measure e-commerce lift without branding compared to e-commerce lift with Facebook and LinkedIn Ads branding in different geographic areas.
  • Measure SEO prominence as indicated by traffic to social assets and feed from universal organic search.
  • Measure customer service usage on social assets.

We also mention a few in our social media plan post. I’d also encourage you to help the C-suite think of it from the other side of the coin, as well – measure what you’re missing out on by NOT seriously investing in social media. How are you helping your competitors to grow and to find new customers while you sit on the sidelines? How much steeper are you making the hill by ignoring the opportunities for press, brand awareness and connections? There’s a cost factor there, as well, that should be measured.

Myth 4: Social Media’s Not For Businesses ‘Like Us’.

It’s possible that social media isn’t for you and that you’re company is the type that should run like hell away from it. But there’s a much greater possibility that social media can help you. It can help you by doing any number of the following:

  • Lead generation
  • Brand building
  • Brand management
  • Competitive Research
  • Build Traffic
  • Storytelling
  • Customer Support
  • Community Outreach
  • Strengthen SEO efforts through links, universal search benefits, etc.
  • Eliminate need for PPC

While I may not recommend social media for every company, I would recommend parts of social media for most. Because to quote Scott Stratten in the above-linked post, “if you believe that business is built on relationships, you have to make building them your business.” And that’s where social media becomes a valuable asset. It creates the platform for those conversations and those relationships to take place. If your business is built on never having to talk with another human, fine. But that’s going to be the exception. Most businesses are built around people.

Myth 5: It’s Safer To Not Get Involved Since We Can’t Control It.

This is about as old-school thinking as it gets. And it even has a touch of truth to it – you can’t control it. You cannot control what people are saying about you or how they’re talking about your brand. However, it was a myth to think that you ever had control. And it’s not only a myth, but bad business, to think that removing yourself from the conversations happening around you is a smart decision. As I said wrote, ignoring social media makes you mute, not invisible. Those conversations about you are STILL going to happen whether you’re present or not. The only difference is now you have no voice to direct to handle them. You’re guilty by omission.

The safest thing is to get involved. It’s to let people know that you’re listening, that you exist, and that you’re committed to fixing things. Because that type of involvement not only breeds goodwill and understanding, it’s a deterrent to those kinds of comments in the first place. On Halloween, you didn’t steal candy from the houses where owners were present and answered the door. You stole candy and destroyed the property of the houses where the owners just left the bowl outside and told you to fend for yourself. Social media’s not all that different. We’ve just changed how we go door to door. And sometimes, our costumes.

Myth 6: Social Media Will Go Away Soon. We’re Waiting It Out

Twitter might die. Facebook may burn too many and lose dominance. However, the marketing principles of social media will not fade, because they weren’t invented by social media. This being human/building relationships thing? That’s always been there, social media has just made it easier (and more important) for businesses to do using these new Web tools. If you’re ‘waiting it out’ and not learning them now because you think social media is a fad or you’re waiting for it to mature, all you’re doing is giving your competition a bigger head start. One that, if you keep waiting, you may not be able to make up. So don’t wait. Create your social media plan, hire a team of social media consultants, whatever you’ve got to do to NOT dig a hole you can’t get out of it.

I think it’s important to remember that social media doesn’t have to be a point of contention in the work place. You and your boss want the same thing – to grow your company and increase your bottom line. For you to get buy in, you need to first calm their initial fears and then use Marty’s process to show without-a-doubt value. If you can do that, you can at least get a shot.

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About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.

Get social with Lisa at Twitter

5 thoughts on “Social Media Mythbusting For The C-Suite

  1. The issue i hear most is #5 “It’s Safer To Not Get Involved Since We Can’t Control It.”
    I generally tell a client, “well, people are going to complain and praise whether your are there or not. Would you rather it be on a platform of your choice where you have the opportunity to respond, or somewhere else that you don’t even know about?” That always gets them thinking and talking!

    In terms of #6 and 1 combined, I always remind my clients that their next generation of guests are those directly involved in social media, why not get started now and be prepared because they are not going to suddenly quit using Facebook and Twitter…

  2. Fantastic post. Hugo Guzman recently spoke about Social Media “Deniers.”

    http://www.hugoguzman.com/2010/06/my-bar-stool-conversation-with-a-social-media-denier/

    It’s funny because it stemmed from a bar conversation at SMX Advanced with an old school, traditional media type.

    I find this social media denial very similar to the rampid SEO denial that went on amongst enterprise companies the past few years. Now they are finally starting to realize how powerful SEO and link building can be in achieving massive ROI. Still to this day SEO and link building in particular can be tough sells but I am seeing more and more adoption by C-level execs.

    I think that SMM is sort of in the same boat right now. It is like an adoption curve.

  3. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Thank you!

    For many of our clients (b2b manufacturing), the issue isn’t so much the buy in. A lot of them are seeing social media opportunities all over the place (granted, most often on a personal level). Their issue is the time involvement. In an industry that’s suffered a lot over the last few years, where people are wearing more hats than they can fit in their closet, when we start to talk about things like reaching out to people via a blog/etc., they freeze up. They just can’t imagine taking on one more thing. But, they want to. And know that they need to give it some serious thought.

  4. Thanks for mention my post, Miguel.

    My little bar room experience is simply further confirmation of Lisa’s assertions. The myths will likely need to continually be busted for many years to come.

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