Social Media Advice for Executives

You're busy. You know there's something big happening in Social Media, but you wonder: Is Social Media for You? At the end of this blog, you will have current info. Then, I will leave you with two simple questions that will help you make this decision.


First, I want to bust common myths surrounding social media. Then, I will briefly describe the relationship social media growth has to a revolutionary management technique, which top-performing, world-class corporations across the globe have recently solidified into a sustainable competitive advantage; namely, that of Data Analytics (in a nutshell, data analytics relies on data to drive decision making, rather than intuition).

The Worst Case Scenario

The CEO of Best Buy was notified via panicked phone call at 4 AM that some 5,000 of his Twitter followers had received a strange tweet from his profile: “I’VE BEEN HAVING A LOT OF GREAT SEX LATELY, AND HERE’S WHY.” Read about Best Buy's response.

Is it Worth the Pain?

Obviously, the thought of this sort of "nightmare scenario" alone, could discourage business executives from participating in the social media realm (by the way, security breaches are an anomaly). Additional negative perceptions regarding social media include: consumption of valuable time, inevitable clash with corporate culture, difficulty with identification of desired outcome or the simple mindset that "it's all a fad". I want to impress the contrary upon you, that in fact, social media is customizable to your needs, highly-relevant to being informed, and even critical to long-term business success.

Who am I to Say?

I am particularly qualified to comment on this topic because I am both a professional in the banking industry, and a close affiliate of industry leaders in social media/marketing/web, I am increasingly familiar with people in their 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's effectively harnessing the power of social media to drive various business initiatives (e.g. sales leads, networking, market insight and hiring).

When Will Social Media Stop Changing Overnight?

The concept of social media itself is dynamic. Consider the absurd case of early internet pioneer Josh Harris, who used his new-found wealth to film every aspect of his daily life (for some reason this visionary executive thought society at large was soon to follow, missing the mark to put it lightly). Even in broader society today, the use of Facebook is going through a maturation stage. People don't use the ubiquitous social platform in the same way they did a couple years ago. For example, you don't accept everybody as a friend; or, you may be increasingly sharing more or less info online. This advice applies to everybody, especially corporate executives: Start slow, share information at a level YOU are comfortable with. It almost need not be said, but remember internet publications are virtually permanent.

Where are Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In (and the others) leading us?

This is a broad question; however, I am singularly focused on this context: The data relevant to driving your business initiative. In 2009, humans created (e.g. publishing social media) more data than in all of previous history combined. In the universe parallel to social media growth are management analysts at top-performing Fortune 500 companies refining enterprise scale information systems to allow data, rather than intuition, to prescribe future actions. The spectrum (from right to left) I need you to visualize is based on the amount of data available and the sophistication of the business need:

Far left - Example 1: A wedding planner looking for sales leads (on the left of the spectrum).

In the middle - Example 2: A middle-market business manager aggregating sales leads from a variety of channels to determine which marketing efforts are a waste of money and which are producing return on investment.

Far right - Example 3: A world-class, international corporation implements a work-in-process database to rigorously determine how the work production of individual employees affects each client, measured based on rates of: Sale conversion, Satisfaction with the value proposition and Retention.

Somewhere on this spectrum is your executive responsibility/business need. Social Media has relevance to examples #1 and #2, while example #3 describes a proprietary enterprise scale information system (beyond the scope of this topic). In the short-term, I recommend basic participation in social media. In the mid-term, you will need to understand your company's data strategy, with respect to your departmental responsibility.

Is Social Media for You?

#1 Is it important that you be the first to know when changes affect your industry or affect your customers, so that you can stay ahead of competition?

#2 Do you have any useful info for others in your industry or for your customers, which will foster a deeper relationship?

Perhaps, you're already convinced that Social Media is a growing force; if so, the next logical consideration is: Who's responsible? If anybody in the organization should be tuned in, it's executive level decision makers. To ignore this societal trend, would be akin to Henry Ford ignoring the advent of the Second Industrial Revolution and delegating "production" to junior management!

If you answered yes to either of question #1 or #2 above, social media will be a powerful venue to accomplish these objectives. I propose you start by following me on Twitter. Need more info on Twitter? Link to Jeremiah's article (he's an expert on disruptive technology this is timeless advice on Twitter for professionals.) Follow my blogs and my tweets; I will do my best to send you timely, concise industry updates that affect business managers -Thanks for reading!