Here's one more installment in what has become (so far) a four part series about the silliness of implementing social media at companies.
In my experience, there are three stages that many senior executives go through.
Initially, senior executives are ignorant of or simply ignore the potential benefits that social media and real-time marketing provide.
Then they start to hear bad things and then agree with the legal or HR people to ban participation.
Some time later, many executives have an epiphany and want to implement social media right now. The change typically comes because they read an article in Harvard Business Review or the Wall Street Journal. Or they feel a need to keep up with a peer company that is getting press for their real-time efforts.
EXECUTIVE MICRO-MANAGEMENT MENTALITY
- Executives ban what they don't understand. "Please issue the guideline banning Facebook and Twitter. And let's step up our Six Sigma and TQM efforts right away."
- Every executive has a social media horror story they read somewhere that they always tell when the subject comes up. "Yes, but the Kryptonite Lock example shows how much of a bad influence bloggers are!"
- Executives learned in MBA-school that the stock answer to any request is to ask for "Return On Investment." But if they see a need to do something, they do not hold themselves to the same ROI standard. "Before we can agree to the blogging thing, I need a detailed ROI calculation on how much it will benefit us. Oh, and by the way, I think we should give each of the 5,000 salespeople the latest version of Blackberry. It will only cost $2.5 million this year and my say so is your authorization to proceed. And fire up the G-IV, I have a golf game on Nantucket tomorrow and want to arrive tonight by 7:00."
- Executives listen too much to the lawyers and trust legal opinion when it comes to social media. I never understood this. What the heck does the average lawyer know about social media? No more than I know about the law but I would never advise an executive on a legal matter. "Okay. So if you review every tweet before it goes out, you legal guys are comfortable with us getting onto Twitter?"
- Executives listen to their peers more than their staff. "I was on the golf course and I heard about this Tweeter thing. Where's our Tweeter plan?"
- Executives think social media is just for the young. And they think the only qualification to get the company going is age. "My university-bound daughter is on Facebook. Let’s give her an internship this summer to get her to do our Facebook page."
- There is a competitive nature at play with many executives. "My golf buddy who is a CEO has a blog. I want you to make me one too. Can we have it done by Thursday?"
- Executives think going viral is easy. And they think humor is even easier. "Maybe we should put a clown in the video - that's always funny! How quickly can we get a million views on YouTube?"
- Executives insist on talking about the company's stupid products. "Love the video, but we need to get more copy from the Benford 5000 brochure into the middle section."
- Executives think they can do things on the cheap because social media is not real media. "Remember that Pepsi Super Bowl commercial? I want something like that, but don't spend more than $10k. Oh, and use an approved corporate vendor, like the video guy who tapes our town hall meetings"
How about it? Any more examples?
Image: Shutterstock / Helder Almeida