Oracle Social Spotlight

8 Tough Social Strategy Questions for Your CEO

June 18, 2013 By: Amy Sorrells

Often, the best way to get someone to think is to ask questions that get them to at least start thinking about what you’ve asked. You may not get an answer right away, but the search for a good answer begins because an unanswered question tends to linger until resolved. This can get your CEO contemplating their social strategy.

We derive our questions from the recently released “State of Social Marketing” report from Altimeter Group, which polled a variety of brand and digital types involved in social marketing.

Study: The main goal of social is a near tie between engagement and brand lift. Sales as the top goal fell over 40% in this year’s survey.
Question: Just what is it you want our social to accomplish?
Pick one. Pick the one by which you’re going to judge the value of our social media. Pick the one you think is worth investing in. Don’t just leave me groping in the dark to prove “general” social ROI.

Study: It’s now believed most social users expect exclusive content from brands, even more than customer service, and definitely more than deals.
Question: If we start social channels for our brand, where will the content come from?
You wouldn’t start a TV station without knowing where the shows to put on it will come from. But that’s what CEO’s are doing with social channels. The belief is that content comes out of thin air, by magic, and for free. What a dumb belief.

Study: More than anything else, budgets are holding back social and digital marketing.
Question: Is it because you don’t know what social marketing realistically costs, or is it that you won’t budget for it until it proves that it’s effective with no resources?
This is the classic “don’t get in the water until you know how to swim” philosophy. It makes zero common sense. If they want to “test” social, fine. But give it legs to stand on so that it can fairly pass that test.

Study: More than ever, executive buy-in is cited as the reason social went mainstream at the brand.
Question: What will it take to get you excited about social?
When you’re dating, you’re going along, having a pleasant time. But then that one little thing happens that sets off fireworks and alters the relationship. What would make your CEO finally “heart” social?

Study: Fewer social marketers believe they understand their social user than did last year.
Question: Do you even care what your customers think?
Because seriously, with the growing awareness we’re in the age of customer centricity, with enormously empowered customers, with tools available to know and understand the customer better than ever before, if you don’t know your customer, it’s because you’re going out of your way not to. Find out if your CEO is a fan of trapped, manipulated customers or of raving fans.

Study: 54% have still not asked social users what they want from the brand. That’s unchanged from 2011.
Question: New question not necessary. Just ask the one above again.
Study: Only slightly more managers see social as being a mainstream part of their organizations than did in 2011.

Question: You realize you’re at risk of being a dinosaur, right?
Corporate leaders aren’t being asked to be innovators, pioneers and risk-takers. That ship has sailed. Now we’re at the point where the continued refusal to adopt a fully accepted modern means of communication makes an organization just look silly. It’s like taking a wait-and-see approach toward this “telephone” thing.

Study: The trends managers are most concerned about are mobile experiences, followed by content management. Integrated experiences came in 6th.
Question: How can we have integrated experiences (which include mobile and content management) with a patchwork of vendors and tools?
If your CEO can show you seamless integration amongst a quilt of disparate technologies that socially enable the enterprise, they should. Otherwise, time to talk about choosing a technology partner whose components can be added as needed.

Discussions like these should not be avoided. Answers rarely come without questions before them.

Photo: Mario Sanchez, stock.xchng

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