CEO Social Media Holdouts: Swim Now or Drown Later

Many CEO’s have been reluctant to jump with both feet into the social media pond for a variety of seemingly good reasons:

1- They made it to the top without it and would prefer to rely on the things that got them there.
2- They see it as one more infringement on their admittedly valuable time.
3- It feels like the constantly changing landscape makes it impossible to have a structured plan anyway.
4- By virtue of their position, they do pay a higher price for posting something that could come back to haunt them.
5- Some feel young people have embraced it, but more senior people have not.

…And Kodak executives felt digital photography would never rival film.

There have been two revolutionary developments in mass communication in the past six and half centuries. The mid-15th century invention of the printing press created one-way mass communication. Social media made mass communication interactive, instantaneous, and global. Social media isn’t a fad, it’s the new tapestry where relationships, business, politics, and culture will be placed. And it’s not just for the young. The average age of a LinkedIn user is 44 years old.(1)

The clock is ticking. Social media is about building relationships and that takes time. Business and life is about building relationships, too. Those resisting social media now will find it even harder later to join the game. Swim now or drown later.

The real question is how to use social media. Every executive needs a plan. It must be guided by customer and prospect behavior, be full of compelling content, and subject to the same return-on-investment test that any other activity would face. It’s a big challenge for CEO’s. There’s no denying that. But isn’t meeting challenges what CEO’s do best?

The writer is a communications consultant and head of his own company.

P.S. For an outstanding white paper on convincing CEO’s to embrace social media, view this link.