True story: Recently, a large public company sent an email to over 20,000 employees asking them to "Like" the new corporate Facebook page. Over 5,000 employees respond almost immediately. Two weeks later, a different department of the same company sent an email with this warning: "No employee of our company is allowed to use Facebook."
Welcome to the confused state of social media in the corporation as we move into 2012. Most companies are either doing nothing to learn more about social media or they are like the example above -- the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Social media is not taken seriously and there is no strategy in place that maps social business back to core business objectives.
Why? IBM conducted a study of over 2,000 companies and asked them about the top inhibitors to adopting social media.
The study found that security, adoption, culture, and compliance are the key barriers companies are worried about. Understandable.
And all the more reason to get educated and informed. "Knowledge is power" has never held more meaning. Armed with the correct information and education, your company will be empowered in the globally connected world. It's time your company has a comprehensive approach to social media. Your senior executives cannot approve or collaborate on something they know little about.
Top 3 reasons to train your executives in social media:
1. Sense of Urgency. Your senior teams should understand the fundamentals of social media and the implications of real-time communication as it relates to customer service and sales. Your legal and HR teams should be able to articulate the liability to the company and the responsibilities of the employee as it relates to social media.
2. Opportunity. Whether B2B or B2C, a solid social business approach can help you find new opportunities to attract and retain customers globally and increase the bottom line. Your managers need to be effective in reaching your target markets with participation over public social networks and platforms. You need to be in continuous improvement mode, not hesitating at the starting line.
3. Competition. The hunt for new customers has never been more fierce. Your competitors know how to reach your customers, stakeholders, and suppliers via social channels - do you? Understanding how to use Twitter and LinkedIn search tools for business and competitive intelligence is critical.
Social media is an enterprise-wide endeavor and it begins with education. A coordinated, professional approach is required to ensure all employees and associates understand the parameters of engaging in social channels as it relates to the company; knowledge on internal and external practices; comprehending measurement and analysis of efforts to impact the bottom line.
Schedule comprehensive training and education for your senior teams in Q1 2012. It may be the best thing you do all year.
Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summit, LLC and the co-author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She also teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension in Westwood, CA. Email her at