The Social C-Suite. Let’s get real.

mrburns

Sometimes the hype of social media outstrips common sense. This is one of those times.

There seems to be a growing amount of buzz and attention about creating a “social enterprise.” This is a good thing. Complicated, but good.

But somehow in this same conversation there is this expectation that the CEO, CMO, and other executives should blog and tweet. This was the topic of a lively debate with some friends at SXSW recently and it was heated enough that I thought that perhaps this is an issue for some readers too.

Should your CEO tweet? Probably not.

There are many benefits to executive engagement on the web. It puts a human face on your company, reinforces a brand image and creates an influential voice of authority within an industry. In a time of crisis, communicating through an already-established channel can be an advantage. Having an enthusiastic executive authentically embrace the social web can be a great advantage for a company.

But the fact of the matter is, most executives don’t post, blog or tweet and they shouldn’t have to. If an executive is not interested in enabling the benefits above and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Twitter, I would be perfectly fine with that.

My friend Jay Baer once said that if you don’t love social media, you will suck at social media. Why make people do something they don’t want to do? The risk of embarrassment, awkwardness, or abandonment of the account might outweigh the possible benefits.

Is this how they should be spending their time?

Have you ever spent time with a CEO of a major company? The pressure and demands on their time are overwhelming. Is paying attention to a social media account and responding to tweets really the best way to spend their time? Can they justify that to a board of directors?

In my mind, it’s kind of like asking the CEO to write the company newsletter. Let paid professionals handle the demands of social media … unless those individuals are passionate about being involved.

So here is my advice on C-Suite Social:

  1. If they get it, embrace it, and love it … help them to turn this into a true marketing asset.
  2. If they are resistant to it, leave it alone. C-Suite social does not have to be a marketing priority.

What has your experience been? I’ll bet there are some great stories out there for the comment section!

The first version of this story appeared on http://bit.ly/1hkLYnB by @markwschaefer. Mark Schaefer is a chieftain of the blog {grow} and social media bouncer. A consultant, educator, podcaster, author of Return On Influence, Born to Blog, and The Tao of Twitter. Visit businessesGROW.com

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