A recent study reveals the ever-growing importance and need for c-level suite folks to use social media as a means to engage its customers and prospects alike and to earn their trust in the process.
And in today's hyperactive social media, digital-crazed world we all reside in, it is, to paraphrase Billy Joel... a matter of trust.
In his song It's A Matter of Trust the piano man sings of the "constant battle for the ultimate state of control." (NOTE: I included the video for the song at the end of my article. It's a personal fave of mine.)
Well we all know that battle has been won and the consumer is in complete control. And any smart and wise c-level suite exec also realizes, at least he or she should that... again to paraphrase Mr. Joel, the consumer "can take it or leave it, whatever they choose."
The "it" of course being your brand, your company, etc.
Having said all that it should come as no surprise that the more c-level execs use social media, the more trust they establish not only with their customers and prospects, but also with their very own employeees.
These are the findings of a CEO survey conducted by BRANDfog. Right in the very first few pages of their findings CEO and Founder Ann Charles shares a very telling statistic:
"As of January 2012, 61% of Fortune 500 brands were engaging with customers via Twitter, but less than 2.5% of Fortune 500 CEOs were actively participating on Twitter."
Might I suggest the over 95% of CEOs who don't use Twitter - and presumably any other social media tool, pay close attention to the following results:
Now I only culled two of the questions/answers from the survey as I wanted to focus on those that dealt with the issue of trust. There are some more interesting and enlightening findings such as:
- 86% of respondents rated CEO social media engagement as somewhat important, very important or mission-critical
- 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image
I absolutely recommend you downloading and disseminating the findings yourself.
What Does It All Mean?
Well it's pretty simple. C-level folks need to get social.
Ok, perhaps I simplified it just a tad. The wise, smart and socially-savvy c-level execs will realize or have already realized that consumers want to know you are out there, that you are engaging with them.
Yes it takes a committment of time but when you realize, as the findings themselves state - "customers will increasingly value a CEO's commitment to having true conversations with customers, and will reward that engagement with trust and loyalty" - it's really a no brainer and well worth the time.
And to those c-level execs who don't see the need nor value, don't worry. I guarantee you your customers will find someone, AKA a competitor whose CEO does see the need and value.
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,Twitter, LinkedIn or his website.