In 2012, social media will continue to transform our society, businesses, and social discourse. But I wonder if executives are still largely unconvinced that engaging in social sites and blogs isn't relevant to their work.An October 2010 infographic from Socialcast revealed that only 40 percent of executives used social media multiple times per day; 5 percent used blogs, and 58 percent said that social's purpose is for marketing.
I'm certain those statistics have moved upward today, but I'm sure that there is still room for improvement. Today's effective leaders are engaging with employees, managing their companies' reputations, supporting companies initiatives, and taking a pulse of customers' perceptions of their brands.
Social media is more than a marketing vehicle; it's about leadership, making customers and employees feel valued, and taking an active part in your company's mission.
We can look to Dr. Sreenivas Koka, chairman of Mayo Clinic's dental specialties department, as an example of a successful social executive. He recognizes the opportunity that social media gave him to introduce himself, so when patients entered his office they felt like they already knew him--helping to overcome some of the first-visit barriers. Koka also noticed that there were three main reasons why people needed the dental prosthetics in which he specializes: bite function, pain, and appearance. He used a YouTube video to explain these three issues and ask patients to think about their main concern. This is helping prepare patients for their appointment, giving them the information to be better able to explain what their concerns are. As a result, Koka's appointments should be more effective and take less time.
And John Birrer, senior vice president of customer experience at Charter Communications, has helped to transform the way his organization engages in social media. He views social as "the heartbeat of the customer experience," and adds that the "social media space is your company-- the connective tissue to your customers. It's your brand, your products and services, and your relationship with customers all rolled into one."
He explains that social media strategy must be a senior-level priority that holds tremendous opportunity--treat it as a separate channel, and you will miss out. "Executives need to have a clear vision of how it fits into their business and the decisions they make. It's the face of your company 24/7."