I was reading some guff the other day entitled “Why aren’t more business leaders online?” The angle was social media blah blah number one way to engage with blah blah shocking behind the times blah blah failure death famine pestilence blah blah…
What a load of old tosh.
Now listen, if you’re a public figure like Richard Branson or anyone else with some form of public profile (like me!) then you should probably do the YouTwitFace thing.
Now only Branson can do his own Tweets (if they are to appear as if written by him). It’s something that only he can do.
And that’s what makes CEOs CEOs – they do what they should do and what only they can do.
So as most CEOs are not public figures they don’t do social media. Simple.
I remember once sitting in a room with my fellow board members and someone from the IT department who couldn’t spell PC came in with the Chief Information Officer in tow. This was late 1990s. She gave us a one slide PowerPoint presentation (good!) on what the internet is and how if we didn’t get with it we were doomed to starvation, economy class travel and the loss of our wives to more alpha-y males with great websites (bad!).
We did nothing and most of these things didn’t happen and those that did were not caused by the internet. And fifteen years later most firms in that industry still have only brochure websites and that’s all they need. They are in consolidated industries and frankly everyone knows everyone.
If it sounds too good to be true…
I meet armies of small business people who are trying to generate “free” leads from social media and SEO. Now this does work and I do it myself but it’s only free if you don’t price in your time. If you do, it’s wildly expensive so you need to do it strategically and measure, measure, measure ROI just like you’re spending real money. Because you are…in the form of your time.
The whole truth…
I think there are some truths that prevail even in this ever more teched-up world…one is that you pay for a lead. One way or another. In time or in money or in both. The great thing about the internet is that you can test what you do without spending a fortune so you can judge your ROI cheaply and quickly. This is the magic of it. “Free traffic” is not the magic of it. That’s a fantasy.
So, “Why aren’t more business leaders online?”
Because they’re business leaders, that’s why. The answer is in the question. They lead. They do what only they can do. This is seldom social media. That’s a delegate issue or it’s not important. Most of us are not Branson.
I am reminded of the Audi CEO who, when asked about the recession said “We have discussed it at our board meeting and we have decided not to participate.” Queue Germanic chuckling…
Business leaders are self-directed. Self-directed people may use social media but they’ll do it strategically if it’s the right thing to do and for most of them it isn’t. So they don’t.
If you’re using social media…
…for business are you being strategic or merely a follower of fashion?
Remember what a strategy looks like? A strategy has goals and measures of performance and leaders take corrective action if the goals are not being delivered.
Fashion is altogether different. And fickle.