I immediately thought of singer Billy Joel's classic song, "A Matter of Trust," when I read the findings of a study that revealed the ever-growing importance and need for C-level suite folks to use social media to engage its customers and prospects, and to earn their trust in the process.
In the song, the piano man sings of the “constant battle for the ultimate state of control.”
We all know that battle has been won; the consumer is in complete control. And any smart and wise C-level suite exec also realizes that, again to paraphrase Joel, the consumer “can take it or leave it, whatever they choose.”
The “it” is your brand, your company, etc.
The more C-level execs use social media, the more trust they establish not only with their customers and prospects, but also with their very own employees. Those are the findings of a CEO survey conducted by BRANDfog. Right in the very first few pages of the findings, CEO and founder Ann Charles shares a very telling statistic.
“As of January 2012, 61% of Fortune 500 brands were engaging with customers via Twitter, but less than 2.5% of Fortune 500 CEOs were actively participating on Twitter.”
Might I suggest the over 95% of CEOs who don’t use Twitter---and presumably any other social media tool---pay close attention to the following results.
Now, I only culled two of the questions from the survey as I wanted to focus on those that dealt with the issue of trust. There are some more interesting and enlightening findings.
- 86% of respondents rated CEO social media engagement as somewhat important, very important, or mission-critical.
- 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image.
I recommend you downloading and disseminating the findings yourself.
What Does It All Mean?
Well, it’s pretty simple. C-level folks need to get social.
Perhaps I simplified it just a tad. The wise, smart and socially savvy C-level execs will realize (or have already realized) that consumers want to know you are out there, that you are engaging with them.
Yes, it takes a commitment of time. But when you realize that “customers will increasingly value a CEO’s commitment to having true conversations with customers, and will reward that engagement with trust and loyalty,”it’s really a no brainer and well worth the time.
And to those C-level execs who don’t see the need nor value, don’t worry. I guarantee you your customers will find someone (a competitor whose CEO does see the need and value).
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers in Social Media by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance writer and blogger looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, or his website.