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9 Ways To Convince The CEO To Use Social Media and Enter The 21st Century

Social Media 7In a recent post on my blog I listed “28 Reasons Why The CEO Is Afraid Of Social Media” which received comments from around the world from consultants and advocates within companies, about their experiences and the feedback they had received from management and CEO’s, including an aside from a reader from Romania who sent me a message on Twitter “@jeffbullas ..Your article was a trauma therapy for me. You wouldn’t believe the bullheadedness of Romanian CEOs”.

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So here are some tips, hints and resources to assist you in convincing “Management To Enter The 21st Century?” … do I hear the sounds of kicking and screaming from the boardroom?

Note: This can be used if you are an external consultant to a company or if you are trying to convince your management to embrace the “New Digital Age”.

 1. Scare Them Two Ways

  • Ask them for 5 keywords or phrases that potential customers would use to find their/your company in a search engine, and then provide a brief report showing them the results of their ranking in Google, and ask a simple question, like, ” Did I find you on page one of Google?” ( the answer is mostly “NO”). So the best question to ask them next is, “How are they going to find you then  ..the yellow pages?”


  • Grade the website against two competitors (do more than two if you like… and the CEO’s ego cannot handle the competition kicking their ass), there is a free tool that I would recommend you use, which grades their website as marketing tool for being “found online” and uses a proprietary blend of over 50 different variables, including search engine data, website structure, approximate traffic, site performance, and others, it’s the Website-Grader from Hubspot. In most cases the website will seriously rank poorly against the competition ( I have had companies obtaining a grading of 4 out of a 100, with the competition  scoring 70’s and 80’s !!) 

Note: I can guarantee you that you will NOW have their attention… seriously!!! …the CEO’s ego cannot handle the competition kicking their butt

2. Show Them Evidence (Case Studies, Surveys and Best Practices) of Companies Using Social Media Successfully. 

Here are three for reference

  1.  Survey Reveals:  The Top 5 Social Media Channels Companies Are Using
  2. Report Reveals: 15 Best Practices of Social Media Implemented by the Top 100 Brands
  3. Marketing Trends Report 2009:  Where does Social Media Stand?

Lee Odden of Top Rank Blog lists two examples of a companies obtaining significant results using Social media and SEO.

1.  ‘Smart Kit”  at  6 months had little traffic but then achieved the following with Social Media and SEO

  • Using SEO and Social Media increased traffic to the site by 4,400%
  • 23,614 inbound links
  • 300,000 visitors a month
  • Now sells advertising on the site as well as products

2. “Jando Fabrics”  using Linking and SEO achieved

  • 5,332 Inbound Links
  • 60 plus Google Top Ten rankings including “Fabric Store”
  • Search Delivers 80% of Website Traffic
  • Reduced Marketing spend
  • Increased sales

3. Show Them Facts and Figures of the Size and Scope of Social Media

The Reach and Scope of Social Media

  •          Facebook: Over 200 million members and 80 billion monthly page views (Techcrunch)
  • Twitter: It now has over 44 Million unique visitors a month (according to Comscore)
  • YouTube: Over 100 Million visitors in March and over 13.8 Billion video views in March alone (YouTube report)  
  • LinkedIn: Over 16 million unique visitors a month with a a very affluent demographic where the average user is 39 and makes $139K ayear and over 500,000 C-level members (Quantcast)
  • MySpace: Just under 100 million visitors a month and 43 Billion page views (Techcrunch)
  • Digg: More traffic than the New York Times with 23 million unique visitors a month and 4.5 billion pages views (Techcrunch)
  • Blogs: Over 5 million blogs are tracked by Technorati, the “Bible” of Blogs with 600,000 being corporate blogs (Technorati)
  • Wikipedia: Nearly 63 Million Unique visitors June 2009 (Compete)

Note: If you want to look at some really interesting numbers have a look at (Future Marketing Trends at FutureBuzz.com)

4. Buy Them a Book (“The New Rules Of Marketing and PR” – Author “David Meerman Scott” ) – Note: You do need to read it first yourself of course

5. Use the Website Grading as a Baseline Measurement so you can show them the improvement to their website ranking as they take the journey of being found online through Social Media and SEO.   

6. Get Them To Take One Small Step –  eg “Start A Marketing Blog”

  • This can be as simple as recommending they take their offline content and repurpose it for online content and put up a regular blog post once a week of 400-500 words, ( Most organisations have  content that can be taken online with very little effort). 
  • Also suggest they choose a person with a real passion for the business and a lot of knowledge to share, who likes writing.

7. Make It Easy for Them

Give them some free time (or build that into the proposal pricing) to sit beside them and help them get started so they feel they are not alone.. remember fear of the unknown can be be a a major stumbling block to taking action. 

8. Give Them Enough Reasons to Make it Compelling

Social Media will add to and enhance the following

  • Reputation Management – People are talking about you online, whether you choose to listen or not.
  • Customer Service –  Social media customer service is the new (800) number.
  • Public Relations – Social media enables you to take your message to customers directly.
  • Customer Acquisition –  Market sideways. Features and benefits are too boring to work in social media.
  • Create Brand Communities – Activate your fans and give them something to do. Don’t just collect them like baseball cards.
  • Thought Leadership –  Everyone in the world has expertise. What’s yours, and how to you distribute it?
  • Networking – Social capital belongs to individuals, and is loaned to brands. You can use social networking to develop relationships online that you’d be unlikely to have otherwise.

9. Sign your boss up to listen: by

Setting up Google Alerts and TweetBeep for your boss/ or the CEO, so she or he can see that there are already many discussions about your organization going on online.  Once this apparent, two things are likely to happen.  First, it will become clear that your organization no longer controls your message online – so worrying about social media causing a lack of control is not worth fearing.  That day is already here.  Second, it will be hard not to want to join those conversations online – which is what web 2.0 engagement is all about. 

Important Takeaway: Remember to finish the conversation with management that Social Media needs a long term approach: To build community, distribute content, or get people actively involved in an application takes time. Marketing and PR work on short time frames and are wedded to sets of individual campaigns or short term objectives. Social media is not a campaign, it’s a permanent approach

So what methods have you applied to convince the CEO to engage Social Media? 

Let me know if any of the above tactics produce results. I would love to hear your story.

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