Ask many CEOs about Twitter and you’ll hear all the usual lame excuses. “I’m too busy to mess around with social media,” or “Our customers aren’t the tweeting kind.”
We could argue all day about why these excuses are in fact lame and why, no matter where your company is located, what industry you compete in, or the nature of your product, you should be taking advantage of the vast and varied opportunities offered by the social web. We could, but we won’t.
Because you know what? You’re not wrong: It’s much easier to play it safe. You’re better off staying away from the dangers and dilemmas of the social web.
Just think of all the episodes, events, and encounters that you’ll be able to completely avoid when you continue to steer clear of Twitter. Why, the things you’ll miss out on are almost too numerous to count.
Yes, the list is long, but here are just four things that you can rest assured will not be in the cards for you if you stay on the sidelines of social media:
Millennials in particular tend to flock to companies that value digital natives, encourage experimentation, and reward initiative. But you won’t find yourself burdened by such troublesome young stars because they’ll never even apply to work at your firm.
Not only might they not even have heard of you in their usual channels online, they’ll know that their unique blend of digital savvy and go-getter attitude isn’t quite what you’re looking for. So they’ll go to some company where their skills are more valued.
Think about it: Richard Branson is a master at tweeting about his travels and praising crew members and employees wherever he goes, which conveys a vibrant company culture that people want to be a part of. But who wants to be as successful as Richard Branson? Honestly.
Many CEOs wait for focus groups or formal customer interviews to get feedback rather than going directly to the source, in real time, online.
Sure, the most meaningful conversations about your brand, your product, and your space are happening every day on social. And yes, online reviews and peer-to-peer recommendations are many times more powerful these days than the most lavish advertising budget. But listening to and engaging with these conversations would just take valuable time away from your focus groups and popup survey questionnaires.
Everyone knows the best kind of feedback comes from behind a one way mirror, not in real time, so waiting another six months to find out what your customers think is probably your best bet.
People do business with people they trust, not because they like the latest expensive rebrand of your logo and tagline. And these days, social media makes it easier than ever for people to meet and form relationships with people who are credible, whom they can trust, and who lead by example in their space.
But that would mean empowering your executives, your management team, and even your frontline employees to be active brand ambassadors for your company online. And then your happiest customers would start telling other people about how great you are, and then where would we be?
New data shows that 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social presence on any of the major networks, which is the group you’ll be sticking with when you decide to stay in the shadows.
While it’s true that the best leaders in the 21st century didn’t win by following the same playbook as everyone else, who’s to say that bold moves and decisive steps are always going to pay off?
Okay, so the role models you’ve admired all your life tended to see around corners and be early adopters of the products and technology that transformed how we live and work. Look at Arianna Huffington, who transformed the media industry and influenced its shift to digital by sharing content from her site and promoting unknown authors with social media. These bold moves changed her business and revolutionized a notoriously stodgy media landscape, which most folks said would never change, so who knows what it might do for your business and industry?
Listen, we know that breaking old habits can be incredibly difficult and learning new ways of doing things with technologies you don’t feel completely comfortable with (yet) can be even harder. But, the fact of the matter is that this is an investment in the future of your business and you can’t ignore it any longer.
Your competitors and peers are already out there getting business done on the social web and you have two choices: get in the game or get left behind.