Social Media Behavior in the Executive Suite

Social Media Behavior in the Executive Suite

CEO hands on Desk I just read Jay Deragon’s post at The Relationship Economy blog titled “What Do CEO’s Think of Social Media”.  He has pulled together details from MarketWatch and BusinessWeek and made the assessment that those companies and CEO’s who ignore the impact of social  media and it’s impact on marketing do so at their peril.

As a co-founder at, this is a question that I needed to approach as part of my business plan and the challenge I see myself dealing with is how best to communicate that to executives that are one of the target audiences for the site.

I can trust the intellect of the executive suite, but what I also endorse is the perspective that these men and women are more concerned with is the overall profitability of their respective organizations versus what tool or tactic they use.  The decision to implement a social media strategy however is the executive suites purview if not their responsibility; it’s becoming more a question of not if but more about when.

What’s the appropriate strategy though?  What kinds of strategies are available to a company who first accepts that social media IS going to be important to their company?

Let’s start by looking at the aspects of the company that will most affected by social media; marketing, sales, customer service, customer support come up first.

What do all these have in common with one another and social media?  They are public facing first and second is that they are the functions that will be impact by a lack of a coherent social media strategy.

What will the social media push do for a company though?  It has the potential to create a bi-directional conversation with the people they most want to connect with – customers with the ability and resources to invest with your company.

It is at the executive suite that the decision get made if this is important to the company, it is in the executive suite that the allocation of the two limiting factors in any business equations gets made – the allocation of time and money.

The answers to the questions posed here are as varied as the organizations involved so I’m not going to suggested a panacea answer, but if you do want to discuss it, send me an email or create the conversation here.

The ROI of Social Media, Again
Social Media

The ROI of Social Media, Again

AdoptionCurve. I got involved in social media because I am a pretty social guy, involved in many different groups off line and always looking for those that best match my personal interests and desires.  Social media is great for my outgoing personality type.

I started my blog sometime ago looking to explore the real ROI of social media and at the 2007 Podcamp AZ I even gave a presentation on the ROI of social media.  My message during that presentation was that the ROI metrics were in flux and that we had not yet come up with readily assessable ROI metrics, but that metrics are available for the social media effort.  Just not tied to an ROI model yet.

I just went looking for data to backup a statement that there were many areas of the business affected by social media, but what I found is that there is still a debate about ROI going on.  Ray Schiel’s Blog cites lots of social media implementations from lots of companies, but I found it by looking at Peter Kim’s post titled ‘Slicing and Dicing A List of Social Media Marketing Examples‘ where Peter suggests in his very next post ‘Social Media Marketing’s New Clothes’ that like any other business investment, there is really only one way to calculate an ROI – that is with a financial ratio that has been out there for quite some time.

I have to agree with peter and at the same time suggest that the work Jeremiah Owyang is doing is right in line with his ongoing work providing a solid social media ROI model.  But even Jeremiah states in his blog in an article titled “The Many Challenges of the Social Media Industry” that “Despite many attempts to measure “engagement” or “ROI” there still is no industry standard to measure the efforts of social media at the personal –and corporate level. While many have developed their own ability to measure on a one-off way, there’s no industry way to quickly –and easily agree pan-industry.”

With all these great minds working on the problem, does that mean that an ROI does not exist?  Well, not yet… not in a simple financial ratio that can equate social participation with a dollar of revenue.  The practice of social media is in my mind something more of an art than a science.  The variables include talent, tenacity, sensitivity to the communities you participate in and interestingly in the sincerity you can project in those engagements.

The online community is both fickle and forgiving; fickle if you think you can some how ‘fool’ them into using your product or service and forgiving if you happen to stumble in a genuine effort to participate in the community and fail, but then get up, brush yourself off and try again.  The lesson you need to learn for success in social media however is transparency.  Whether you project it or not, the audience will see it – they’re sharp and more info about you, your company and your real intentions are no more than a search bar / mouse click away.

I do not think a direct ROI model can be created as a standard / direct ROI right now – we’re still too early in the adoption of the technology to make that kind of assessment, but I do think we can make other assessments that are meaningful.  My next post will explore the areas of the business that social media impacts.

Silent Dispatch Launches V2!  The World Sighs…

Silent Dispatch Launches V2! The World Sighs…

… well, maybe not the world, but I know four guys who took a bit of a breather before jumping right back in.  Stuart, Michael, Jon and I have all been busting our butts to hit the product launch target for Silent Dispatch of December 1.  The product is a bit tardy getting out there, but we think we’ve done a lot of things right in making sure the product was ready for the market.

100_3550Technology-wise, Silent Dispatch is very current – a cloud computing model that makes the best of client / server just work like it’s supposed to.  Thin, lightweight clients and all the heavy lifting done on the back end in a way that insulates the user from the burden of server farms and all the rest.

The marketing model is all social media with some regular activity, like conference thrown in, but it’s really been about connecting to the community online and offline.

We’ve learned a lot in the process too – the lessons you learn as entrepreneurs about developing, marketing and shipping a product with the kind of capability this one has.

The next step is to gauge the markets reaction to the new version and see how we can drive the adoption rate from the free product to the premium product.  We have [people that have been waiting so the next few weeks will be a really teller for us.

What else is happening?  Well I’ve been so heads down on putting together all the pieces   We’re still talking to people who want to invest in our growth and we’re looking at marketing relationships that will matter so we still have a long way to go.

I have not had much time to share what the experience has been like.  Ask me out for a cup of coffee and I’ll share my thoughts – otherwise, just subscribe here, it should make a good read.

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