Nearly all of us have had to explain — and pitch — social networking to our company leadership. Hence your overwhelmingly positive response to two recent blog posts that lay out five steps to building a companywide social-media plan and a plan for selling social media upstairs.
These how-to guides are handy, but they don’t address a critical element to making our collective case: knowing what we are up against.
To that end, last month, we surveyed the audience of one of our most popular daily news briefs, SmartBrief on Leadership, to get a sense for the overall business climate for social media. Our goals were to understand how company leaders view social platforms at this moment in time, what their concerns are about adapting them into their business practices and what relevant information they are hungry to know. More than 2,700 of 100,000 SmartBrief on Leadership subscribers from a diverse set of industries responded, and the results surprised us.
A view from the top:
- How familiar are business leaders with social media?
- Back to school: 75% of respondents say they were either knowledgeable or actively trying to learn about social media.
- Are their companies currently using social media/social tools?
- Getting there: 51% of respondents say their companies are actively using and exploring social media in a number of business areas. Another 30% are in pilot test/consideration mode. Only 27% say they are not using social media now and won’t be in the future.
- Is social media just a marketing fad?
- Social media is here to stay: While many leaders say they see social media as somewhat “over-hyped,” 63% of respondents say they disagree with the notion that it is a marketing fad.
- Is it a waste of time?
- Good use of company resources: 55% of business leaders say social media is not a waste of time.
- What are the implications of ignoring social media?
- Missing the conversation, both good and bad: 83% of respondents agree that social media gives them a window into what their customers are saying about them, and 80% say that social media has the power to magnify negative news about a company. This is obviously a key point of concern.
- Falling behind the competition: 40% of respondents say they fear they are falling behind their competitors in using social media. Also, 25% admitted that they did not know what their competitors were doing in the space.
Clearly, leaders believe that social media has the potential for a significant impact on their business. In the coming weeks, we’ll be digging down further with executives on an industry-by-industry basis into how companies are using these technologies across their operations. Stay tuned for updates as we learn more.
In the meantime, is this the kind of feedback you are getting from your leadership? What role do executives plays in the implementation of your corporate social-media strategies? Does taking your social-media goals to the next level require more than simply CEO buy-in?
Image credit, Alistair Cotton, via Shutterstock