The CEO and Social Media

Posted by: on Mar 26, 2013 | No Comments

Since I’ve been involved in Social Media for the past couple of years with my blog, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter, I was very interested to read the experiences and viewpoints of other executives in Chief Executive Officer. The article itself rambles from topic to topic, much as a true Social Media user might, starting with the debacle of a FedEx delivery person creating an instant nightmare and PR crisis during the holiday season by throwing a fragile box over a fence (captured on security footage and shared via YouTube), and the swift and professional actions taken by FedEx communications to counter the ensuing multi-media assault as it aired on TV network CBS and Twitter.

The FedEx team took “lemons and made lemonade,” really using the unfortunate incident as an opportunity to improve customer experience through employee training and use of the same media channels where the criticism of their #fail was being shared.

From there, however, the article focuses primarily on Twitter and how different companies and executives have made very real conversions as a result of this fast paced channel. While it was almost like two very different articles slammed together, I enjoyed each topic equally.

Kat Cole’s (@KatColeATL) assertion that Twitter allows direct connection with prospects is certainly true; and an important point if your offering is a special club or community where there is an expectation of responsiveness, uniformity and transparency. Derrick Hall (@DHallDbacks) has found a great channel in Twitter to minimize unsold inventory and engage an active and spontaneous audience in a way that meets their communication needs. With Social Media, as with any media channel, there are limitations to how message and meaning are conveyed to audiences, but there is the added potential of disproportionate viral marketing.

What I find most interesting is how the Social Media channels do allow such a diversity of communication strategy and purpose that can support the personality of the brand or individual, while encouraging engagement and conversion. Ultimately, these are situations where a buyer is interested and the seller is willing to enable the transaction. In the case of Cinnabon, the prospective franchise buyer is developing a channel of information and trust that, in turn, converts to a relatively large purchase and relationship of significant time. For the AZ Diamondbacks, the use of discounting and promotion is a natural fit for this fast-paced channel. The dialog that occurs between fans and followers as a result of the channel, purchase and participation is reminiscent of “in-person” conversations at sports bars. I suspect that, again, there is a “community” within this niche audience where real relationships are being formed between virtual friends who’ve never met, but yet have the opportunity to exchange lively banter.

In the end, a brand really wants the people who touch it to be a community – investors, employees, customers and their families and friends – one that transcends generations with consistent messages of timeless and endearing value. As the CEO of any company, your belief and message must resonate through any form of communication, and I applaud these leaders who are also champions. I also applaud the author who notes 5 key takeaways, one being if social media is not impacting your bottom line, you are not using it right.