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6 Questions To Ask The CEO When He Says Social Media Won't Work For His Company

Social Media QuestionsI recently wrote an article  “9 Ways To Convince The CEO To Use Social Media and Enter The 21st Century” which received a lot of comments and in fact is the second most popular article on my blog with over 4,200 hits and 22 comments…they make interesting reading. So it appears that it is a a topic on a lot of peoples minds.

In thinking about it…. convincing is not just about “telling” .. though you do need to provide facts and figures and case studies.

The art of the sale is often more about asking the right questions and getting them to provide their own answers that lets them come to their own conclusion. … then “they” own the answer.

So when I came upon an online video of a presentation by David Meerman-Scott it provided a few more pieces to the puzzle.

These are the questions .. I have also placed next to each question what current research is showing is the response rate to different types of marketing.   


In the last few months have you either professionally or personally. 

1.Responded or answered to a direct mail letter or brochure? (Current research shows only 3% have responded)

2. Did you follow up on a mainstream media advertisment such as TV, Radio, Magazine or Newspaper? (22%)

3. Did you go to the Yellow Pages to look up a company to buy a product? (3%)

4. Did you Google and search online when looking to purchase a product or service? (97%)

5. Used Your Peer to Peer Network via Facebook, Instant Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn or other Social Media to get a URL to a website  for a product that you were looking to buy? (80%)

And here is the clincher…..

6. So why are you still using marketing for your company that you yourself  have minimal response to?

Note: These are also useful to include in a powerpoint presentation and I have been doing this recently with great results.

What questions are you asking?…  


Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Right on the money here Jeff – and David Meerman Scott’s book is outstanding.

    I get a sense that social media/networking is seen by many CEOs as an unwelcome distraction from doing “real work”, and the most misunderstood element of marketing today. Often confused with what folks see their “kids” doing messing about on facebook. Hey I wish I had facebook to “mess around on” when I was a kid – I’m sure I’d have a huge network of friends to work with in business now – RIGHT? 😀

  • Tim

    Percentages seem way off from those in recent studies by TMP/comScore and Borrell.

    Also curious about the methodology of the cited study.

  • Good thoughts, Jeff. There is a bridge of logic yet to cross. Likewise, I find it interesting that executives who value relationships at country clubs, and who spend big money to entertain clients in stadium suites don’t make the connection with online social media. Maybe PR people need to do a better job of explaining the “big party” idea. jrb

  • SeymourResults

    Those are the kind of guys who end up hiring their “nephew” to create their Social Media program.

  • Jeff,

    There is of course the risk factor as a selling point.

    Businesses employees are using social networking already. They will be associating themselves with their employer (especially on LinkedIn). In the abscence of proactive action, this group becomes the default social marketing team for the business.

    Does the CEO;

    a) realise that this is going to happen anyway, despite their own views and
    b) know how powerful the second level references on social networking sites are?

    All employees can be encouraged as second level referees or we can allow them to say just what they like about our businesses. They are unlikely to be intentionally negative as would be career limiting, but they will be uncoordinated and random. Not a great image for any business.

    Keep up the good work.

    Adam Blackie

  • Tim Anderson

    Great post Jeff.

    My question is, how do you get a power company with a set customer base to start using social media to get their message out to the community?
    Management is worried about losing control of the ‘message’ and tarnishing their image (I don’t understand that). 
    They spend 6 to 7 figures to advertise in the local market.
    I just keep pecking away.  Hopefully they will listen someday.
    Again, thanks for the great post.

    • Hi Tim and thanks for your comment and question.
      Maybe one way of looking at it is best explained with a story about one of my clients that like the Power company didn’t believe in social media.
      This Finance company (again a conservative image and brand) who wasn’t on Social Media had some customers who were not happy with their service.
      These unhappy customers leapt onto Facebook and Blogs and Twitter complaining and if you did a search on Google for the company the negative posts and comments appeared at the top of the searches (Page one of Google) creating a lot of bad PR.
      If the company had already been proactive on social media and built up their online assets then it would have been harder for the Negative PR to appear on the first page of Google.
      So maybe the approach is a defensive one so that if negative PR breaks then they already have the platforms and the online assets that would minimize any PR damage and keep the negative comments off the first page of Google.
      Anyway I hope that helps.

  • spot on, once again. We have been discussing the same points on a recent trip to different countries teaching people the mindset of social media. With companies, it is amazing still when they ask what the ROI is of using social media when they really have no idea what the ROI is of nearly everything they are currently spending their advertising budget on. Great post!

  • Hi Jeff,

    Although I peruse your tweets & site often, I had
    missed this particular post. It provides the exact approach I feel could be
    effective with a long time client (8+ years) who although open-minded in other
    areas Marketing – has been absolutely intransient in his resistance to Social
    Media integration. Thank You!

  • Hi Jeff,

    Although I peruse your tweets & site often, I had
    missed this particular post. It provides the exact approach I feel could be
    effective with a long time client (8+ years) who although open-minded in other
    areas Marketing – has been absolutely intransient in his resistance to Social
    Media integration. Thank You!

  • great and informative article jeff. thumbs up

  • Jason Stevens

    I would like to add the old adage, you pay for what you get.  Are most interns or low wage employees suited to handle this kind of responsibility?  

  • #7: Have you deleted a marketing email?

  • Excellent questions & great points., I have also observed a resistance to using social media, even to using corporate team events as an opportunity to increase the level of comfort of the team. There is definitely a generation gap with under 30 employees and, yes, prospective clients embracing social media and senior executives and decision makers not wanting to touch it with a 10 foot pole. I recently blogged about this as well.and would love to know your thoughts:

    Why Are Companies Reluctant to Use Social Media for Corporate Events?


  • Jackie Mills

    I really enjoyed this blog! The questions you propose are simple, yet very thought-provoking and certainly should provoke discussion! I also wonder if questions should eventually guide the CEO to consider his/her own social media presence too. Online participation of CEOs set the tone–and boost company branding. You might also really enjoy reading the arguments in this blog that make the case for enterprise social media at all levels of corporations – http://enterprisestrategies.com/2012/02/21/how-enterprise-social-media-is-valuable-to-every-level-of-your-company-part-1/.

  • Brilliant mate.

  • Terrific points Jeff! I found a supporting article “11 Reasons a 23 Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media,” written by Hollis Thomases, (http://www.inc.com/hollis-thomases/social-media-dont-put-intern-in-charge.html?nav=pop) which encourages “senior” management to get more involved with their Social Media strategy. SM is just a tool, why should the 40+ crowd be intimidated by it? They were the first implement the Internet for crying out loud!

  • Wonderful Post & very true. I guess, the core would be to integrate their traditional media into their new age social media campaigns which have worked amazingly for us too. Thank you for this wonderful post.
    Ananth V