Katy Howell of Immediate Future delivered an energetic presentation based on her decade at the professional end of social media.
Her most pertinent point, and one that had many in the room nodding in agreement, was that (to put it mildly) the average CEO and board of most of the large corporations don’t use social media themselves and therefore don’t get it.
They get the figures, though, and when they see the costs of a typical social media campaign, they wince.
But social media campaigns can have measurable benefits, evidence of which should be taken with you when you’re pitching to them.
The problem is that boards will not think twice about spending big on TV and press advertising (a symptom of their old-skool mindset, perhaps), but social doesn’t excite them enough to engage. They’ll ask “How can we make it go viral?” and “Will it get us a million followers?” and at best they’ll commit a few juniors or interns to the project.
In short, they need to get serious about the benefits of social media, and it’s our industry’s job to teach them why.
We need to make it part of the sales journey and give it value – otherwise it’s impossible to attribute it to any success that happens. In all likelihood a social campaign running alongside traditional advertising will get zero credit, even it it;’s successful. Proving its worth will make them think twice next time.
START WITH A PLAN
Social media is not an afterthought any more. It needs a 6-month, 3-month and 1-week plan leading up to launch. It needs clear goals that are provable.
Social is a superb place to gather data. It can make boardrooms see exactly what customers think about when they consider their brands – and it’s quite often far removed from how they view themselves. And it’s all acted out in real time!
Knowing what matters to customers has always been important, but it has never been easier to gather information on emotions and attitudes.
Maybe in a decade we’ll have a generation of CEOs that understands social media. But for now, we’ve got to keep banging on doors and using our powers of persuasion to drive the message home.