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11/11/2012 by

Can You Talk the CEO Into Doing Social Media?

You are the chief marketing officer at your company and you have to approach the big man or woman about trying something out. The goal, to get them to sign off on putting major time and effort into a social media campaign.

Can You Talk the CEO Into Doing Social Media?

Yes, the company is doing well overall, but you and others know it could be turning an even bigger return on investment.

The sticking point, however, the CEO is not exactly tripping over themselves to integrate social media into your company’s marketing plan. So, where does that leave you?

As many who do marketing for a living know, one of the main goals of any business is to stay a step ahead of the competition. In your heart of hearts, you feel passionately that your company is missing out on a key area, promoting itself through social media.

For many chief marketing officers, it takes a little extra time and effort to sell the head of the company on all the good things that social media can do for your business. The CEO is oftentimes questioning the true value of social media, saying they have trouble getting a true read on its ROI to the business.


Social Media Continues to Grow for Many Companies

When you find yourself in that position, throw a few of the following statistics at the CEO from the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

Among them:

  • Ninety-four percent of all companies with a marketing department used social media as a portion of their marketing platform;
  • Nearly 60 percent of marketers are devoting what amounts to a full work day to social media marketing development and maintenance;
  • Forty-three percent of people aged 20-29 spend more than 10 hours a week on social media sites;
  • Eighty-five of all companies that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy noted a gain in their market exposure, while 58 percent of businesses that have used social media marketing for more than three years stated seeing an increase in sales over that period.

So, if those numbers still have your company’s CEO questioning the importance of a solid social media effort by your team, share some of these thoughts with them:

  1. Engaging consumers – As more and more shoppers go on-line to browse and shop, not engaging them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media platforms is flat out wrong. According to a recent Forrester Research Inc. report, on-line shoppers in the U.S. are forecast to spend $327 billion in 2016, an increase of 45 percent from $226 billion this year and 62 percent from $202 billion in 2011. In 2016, e-retail will account for 9 percent of total retail sales, a jump from 7 percent in both 2012 and 2011, according to the report, “U.S. On-line Retail Forecast, 2011 to 2016,” by Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru. That amounts to a compound annual growth rate of 10.1 percent over the five-year forecast period. With those kind of projections, companies need to be socially engaged;
  2. Avert on-line problems – Another reason your goal as a CMO is to have a solid social media presence for your company is knowing what folks are saying about your business. Are customers turning to Twitter and Facebook to complaint about your products or services? Are they taking to social media venues to disperse unfounded rumors about your company? Lastly, is your competition talking about you in ways that do not truly define your company? Three more reasons to be actively involved in social media;
  3. Be seen as an authority – Finally, a strong social media presence allows your company to be seen as an authority in its particular industry. Consumers are more apt to come to your Facebook and Twitter company pages if you are providing valuable links, authoritative blog posts, informative press releases and more. As your likes and followers increase, you can point to these figures in your brochures and other company promotions, giving you more clout with consumers.

While you will not always be able to sell your company’s top person on social media, your goal as a CMO is to promote it wherever and whenever possible.

By all accounts, social media is not going anywhere anytime soon.


Wouldn’t you rather be the CMO who was in front of the social media train than the one running to keep up with it?


About the author
Dave Thomas, who discusses subjects such as installing the right home gutter guards and starting a home business, has more than 20 years of experience as a business writer.


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Comments (10)

  • Igor Beuker 12/11/2012, 14:05

    Great story and insights. Forrester predicts that the CMO will spend more on technology than the CIO by 2016, so we should expect the CMO to be able to convince the CEOs?

    However, many leading Fortune 500 companies have not embraced social media yet, so at these companies the CMOs might be struggling to convince their CEOs? Or here the CMO might be the problem, and not convinced about social yet?

    How do you see this Dave?

    • Dave Thomas 13/11/2012, 01:13


      Having been in marketing jobs in the last decade, I see too many instances where CEO’s especially are not willing to move full-steam ahead with social media. Given that it mainly costs time and effort (not much money), you would think the heads of many companies would be enthusiastic about social media. Yes, there are those who are, but too many others drag their feet with putting in place a good SM campaign for their companies. One complaint I hear is that they have trouble measuring their ROI on social media, so that also prevents them from getting on board with it. With all the positives that social media can offer a company, I find it hard to believe more CEO’s in particular are not on board.

    • Igor Beuker 13/11/2012, 16:58

      HI Dave

      I have the exact same experience. And to be honest: their is always a thing to blame: lack of case studies, lack of ROI, technology nog right etc etc

      Mostly change and getting out of the comfort zone is about people and DNA. If the CEO does not have that DNA, not only social media will fail…


  • Igor Beuker 12/11/2012, 17:32
  • Nicki Escudero 12/11/2012, 19:26

    Not only should your CEO embrace a social media strategy, he or she should be directly involved with your campaigns. Here’s how to get them to embrace social media:

    • Igor Beuker 12/11/2012, 21:47

      Cool story Nicki, read it and you shluld do a guest blog here! It’d an open invitation 😉



  • Igor Beuker 12/11/2012, 21:46
  • Zach Kasperski 14/11/2012, 00:58

    I used to work for a IT company where the CEO was willing to dive into the world of social media. Problem was: he was half pregnant. A lot of companies jump into social media with their eyes closed. They don’t realize the amount of time it takes to strategize, concept, and execute a social media campaign.

    Social media marketing takes time. I would advise CEO’s to spend at least an 8-hour day learning about social media and how it actually works in order to be a effective. Funny joke, eh?

    • Igor Beuker 15/11/2012, 12:23

      Hi Zach

      I think many of us know what you are talking about, many thanks for sharing! And true, CEO needs to undersdtand it, embrace it and support it top-down. Should I say Zappos, as an example..?



  • Steve D'Souza
    28/10/2013, 13:35

    In financial services there is an ostrich approach , hiding behind regulation.

    Try this!-