As consumers, the way we live our lives today is very different to less than a decade ago when social technologies first started appearing on our radar. So the question is: if consumers have embraced social technologies and changed their behaviour, why are most CEOs not doing the same to keep up with their market?
The 2012 Chanticleer CEO Survey indicated only 4 per cent of the top Australian CEOs are personally active on social media. While the numbers may have risen slightly since, there is still no abundant evidence that Australian CEOs are personally embracing this technology. There is, however, much evidence to indicate the fact that companies are alive and well on social media platforms for branding and marketing purposes, but this is really only a micro-utilisation of what social media has to offer a smart and savvy CEO.
Social media is an abused communication channel that is evident when hash tags are catapulted across the TV or when journalists incorporate Twitter and Facebook activity as corroborating evidence within stories. As a result, there is a strong perception among executives that social media is littered with irrelevant social commentary, and it is thus dismissed from being useful. However, when utilised within the right context, social media is capable of delivering a much greater value proposition.
IBM’s Global CEO study in 2012 highlighted three main challenges facing CEOs today: empowering employees with values; engaging customers as individuals; and amplifying innovation with partnerships. Social media can assist to overcome all three of these challenges by integrating it into other areas of the business outside marketing, including human resources, research and development, and even production. At this level of integration, it’s no longer referred to as ‘social media’; it’s known as ‘social business’, and starts to get highly relevant.
Social business is the art, science, and philosophy of building trusted networks that achieve strategic objectives. By thinking beyond a basic presence on social media platforms and adopting social business principles, an organisation is able to quickly build trusted internal and external networks that can capitalise on new opportunities.
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