Today I had another long discussion about social media with a fellow CEO. But this conversation gave me some new insight to why the skepticism. I guess because social media insider (like me) are asking the wrong questions!
Instead of endless explanations that 400 Million people are engaged, that Facebook is growing with more than a million per month and that this is a more effective way to improve customer relationships besides a dozen other arguments, we need to ask a very different set of questions:
- What do you know about your customers in the social web?
- Do you really know what customers say about you and your brand?
- Do you know how accessible your customer base is and therefore how vulnerable you are?
- How do you identify and work with key influencer?
- Are you ready if your competitors go after your customers in the social web?
- Is your team available if customers are asking questions publicly – or you don’t even know?
- How do you embed your sales organization into the social web of customers?
- Do you know how to leverage the social web for your support organization?
- Do you have an idea about ROI and effectiveness of social media?
- Do you know how to measure improvements and success in the social web?
- Have you ever thought about empowering your team to engage?
- Did you ever consider involving and leveraging your partners?
- Did it occur to you that the social web may be ideal to compete for mindshare?
- Are you able to create a social media strategy?
- Do you have enough information to decide whether to ignore or engage?
My friend was silent after I explained to him that I can identify the majority of his customers simply by scanning the web and see what they say, what they like and what they don’t. He recognized that if I am able to do that his competitors can do that too. He said: “Axel, we talked about that quite often but you had asked me the wrong questions. Today I feel I’m completely naked. I will have an executive meeting this afternoon. What changed my thinking was not that I have some “potential” gain if I engage in social media, which even you couldn’t convince me so far—but today I understood that I’m facing quite a risk if we don’t…”
I had to promise to change the title and adjust the content of our webinars to “You don’t know what you don’t know”.
I hope this may help others to change the conversation when discussing social media with executives – I surely will.