With 95% of the companies we interviewed for our book Wikibrands, it was viewed as essential for their CEO to be seen using the new tools of connection and collaboration and supporting overall social efforts. And their CEOs agreed!
In surveying a set of CEOs recently, they fed back to us what their biggest training needs were in wrapping emerging and social media into their mindset and business decisions. Very few CEOs have taken up the challenge fully (only 20 of the top Fortune 500 CEOs actively participate – see our post on role model CEOs). Frankly, one of the biggest reasons, beyond regulation and fear, is they don’t want to look stupid using it.
Here are 9 aspects of social media that they would appreciate getting training and counsel on:
1. Understanding the CEO Role as Champion
– CEOs will never be the most frequent user of social media in an organization (if so, they may need to clearly reset priorities) but they recognize their role as champion, cheerleader and supporter of the overall effort, they want to know the best way to play this role.
2. Outreach to Key Influencers
– similar to how PR agencies have thrust their CEOs in front of journalists and business analysts historically, a new breed of digitally-connected influencer (e.g. blogger, thoughtleader) now exists with different angles and rules. They want to know who these people are, how they interrelate and what the new ground rules of play are with them.
– it’s amazing how lenient CEOs are when it comes to measuring social media, all they want to know at the outset is – what’s being measured, are these the right things to measure, is somebody updating me on these regularly and are they moving in the right direction.
4.Building Sustainable Presence
– most CEOs realize that this is not a “launch and runaway” scenario, they want to know how to build a good social, collaborative presence for the long term, effectively and efficiently.
5. Digital Strategy/Planning
– as an executive, CEOs weigh in on business strategy more than any other facet of their role. This should be no different when it comes to the digital side of the fence. Asking the right high-minded questions and understanding how to tap the business value from social media is essential.
6. Getting Employees Enthused
– too many CEOs suggest to me that even if they are interested, there are too many people inside their organization that have too little energy, talent, experience or passion for wanting to pursue more open, content-rich and social media and technologies. From the front lines to mahogany-lined corner office, getting people invested in these new mediums is the challenge of the decade.
– as one of the more acceptable and established forms of social communication, CEOs truly want to find out how to build a slate of blogging topics, write better and do it all with a minimum amount of hassle. Blogging is see as one of the better tools for achieving this (easier than video, more purposeful than social networks and deeper, more thoughtful content than Twitter).
8. Social Networks
– with social networks considered as the #1 spend growth item over the next few years by their marketing departments and increasingly a way to burnish a reputation (for good or bad), CEOs need to know where to focus time, money and attention.
9. Building Digital Talent and Culture
– amongst internal staff and external partners, CEOs want to understand how best to instil a change of culture inside their organizations that is more customer-driven, knowledge-based and technically savvy
Because of such needs described above, we will be offering CEO Bootcamps sessions in the Fall to provide a safe haven for CEOs to ask safe questions about the ins and outs of organizational use of social media. Let us know if you have a CEO wanting a safe haven for his/her social ambitions.