A very Hollywood-styled notion exists in the minds of social media nirvana-ists that if an individual or a hard scrabble passionate group of engaged corporate souls get together, they can transform a company by themselves.

It’s a romantic notion even I want to believe. The truth is if your executive isn’t on board, you are not getting your social plane off the runway.

In the hundred+ companies we studied for our book Wikibrands, the CEO played a pivotal role in either cheerleading championship or tacit approval of deeper, more meaningful digital engagement. In less than 5% of the cases, did some operation deep in the bowels of a company become so big or interesting, it eventually won over a resistant executive. Tough odds.

I’ll give you the 9 reasons CEOs should pay more attention to their digital engagement levers and become a personal social champion and 9 CEOS that are the current rock stars of this landscape (in a separate post).

The 9 Reasons CEOs should make the “social” effort:

– 82% of people trust a company more who has a CEO who is involved in social media

– 94% believe CEO involvement in social spaces leads to a better brand image

– 78% believe an engaged CEO leads to better communication inside and outside the organization

– Technology and people skills have become the #1 and #2 factors affecting company direction and performance – social media bridges those two influences very effectively and efficiently

– CEOs believe that social media will spike (256% increase in belief) in becoming the favoured tool for communicating with customers (second only to face to face contact)

– Customer obsession and inspirational leadership are the two top leadership traits of the future – good use of social media brings to life these two facets and creates a wider circle around them

– Companies that engage in social media simply win – the ones that do it grow their brand value +18% the ones that don’t lose brand value by -6%

– 77% of people are likely or much more willing to buy from a company whose mission and values are defined through their leaderships’ involvement in social media

– only 16% off CEOs are currently involved in social but that’s going to almost quadruple over the next 5 years – why be the last person in line getting your social on?

Sources: Brandfog, Altimeter, IBM

Heck, if only selfishly motivated, there may even be a social circle premium to executive compensation.

So to all CEOS reading this, take the first step — it’s may be the toughest but then sure enough – left foot, right foot—you’ll get the hang of it.


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