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The C-Suite and social media

by Mike Davison on 18 June 2012

As debates hot up over whether it’s time for a dedicated social media C-Suite position, here’s a quick round up of insights and perspectives on social media and the C-Suite.

First off, an infographic on the value of social media from the CMO perspective using data from Forrester, Marketing Sherpa and others. Almost all say they’ll be increasing their social marketing budgets as well as investing 50% more in social recruitment. There’s clearly no one size fits all ROI model but important signals range from traffic to extra search visibility, positive word of mouth, brand awareness and conversions.


But what about active involvement by the C-Level execs in social media? According to this recent study, 82% of people have more trust for an organisation whose leadership team are active in Social Media and even more say it helps successfully project brand values in a positive way. Here’s some choice cuts.

And if you missed it, Mashable recently published the views of execs on their attitudes to social media as part of its Social Media for Business Leaders Series.

First up, Sandy Carter, vice president, social business evangelism and sales at IBM.

“Encourage a social culture: Culture and change management is the foundation of true social business transformation. Create a social business agenda, an integrated plan to be more competitive and have a measurable ROE (return on everything) an organizations does socially. Embed social into business processes — to fully evolve into a social business, organizations need to foster social behaviors, thinking and technology into the fabric of the company, i.e. customer service, HR, marketing, operations. Hire a Social Media strategist/manager: This person is essential to serve as a community advocate and works with employees to understand the value of Social Media. They are also responsible for protecting the reputation of the brand online.”

Next, Alexander Bolen, CEO at Oscar de la Renta.

“We have a huge opportunity, a whole new world of people we weren’t able to speak to before. Figure out the best way to do that for your brand and what fits in with your DNA. I’ll go back to something Oscar has told me frequently: ‘We are not all things to all people, but we should always try to be more things to more people.’ I think that’s the way to do it.”

And here’s Geoff Cottrill’s take, chief marketing officer at Converse.

“We mix it up with posts about product, posts about content and questions about topics of the day. Last year, for example, we posted a design-your-own shoe contest inspired by the Double Rainbow guy, who was blowing up that week on YouTube. Some of what we do is planned, but a lot of it is spontaneous. You have to be flexible and ready to talk about lots of topics — just like at a dinner party. We’re also learning a lot about posting tactics –- time zones, language, regional relevance, etc. I go back to what I said earlier –- you have to have the courage to let go and not try to control the conversation or broadcast advertising messages every chance you get. Be respectful of the time between purchases of your product by adding value and contributing to the conversation. When it comes time again to purchase, your relationship with them should pay off.”

To cap things off, here’s a look at the developing relationship between marketing and technology among the C-Suite c/o IBM. IBM is predicting that by 2017, the CMO will be spending more on IT than the CIO.

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