I recently saw an infographic from the Brighton School Of Business entitled, “Do You have What It Takes To Become A CEO?” There was a lot of interesting data there, but several one category captured me.
They wanted to assess the social media activity of the Fortune 500 CEO’s. Their conclusion was, “today’s top CEOs aren’t very active on social media.” It followed with the following:
- 28% have a LinkedIn profile (They didn’t assess how active that 28% was in LinkedIn, for example, do they update their status, are they active on groups, etc.).
- 7% are on Facebook.
- 6% are Twitter.
- 1% are on Google+.
I can just imagine all of us trying to socially surround these 140 people on LinkedIn, or the 35 poor souls on Facebook, or the 30 on Twitter or 5 on Google +. With all of us trying to surround and engage them, I can imagine them running in fright/avoidance (OK, I’m having a little fun with this, but you get the point.). I also wonder about those that we are missing and the opportunities with them.
I suspect the data may not be too different for non Fortune 500 CEO’s. Likewise, I suspect the data may not be very different for many C-Level or senior execs.
But it causes me to think about our social selling strategies. If we are socially surrounding our customers–and if our target customers are C-Level execs, as they are in many complex B2B sales, who are we surrounding? However active we might be on social channels, however we might leverage them to engage our customers in conversations, if our customers aren’t hanging out on social channels, who are we talking to? How are we engaging? What conversations are they having with others in different places? Are they meeting our competition wherever they may be hanging out?
Now before you start calling me a dinosaur and thinking I don’t get it, clearly I think social channels are very important. Why would I be so active in them if they weren’t?
It’s just important for us to realize, these aren’t the only channels, and depending on who our customers are, they may not be the best channels.
Clearly, some industry segments will have higher utilization of social channels. Greg Alexander did a great post on this: Social Selling Applicability By Industry.
Clearly, the utilization of these channels has increased an will increase in the coming years.
Clearly, these executives may be influenced by others in their companies (at lower levels) who may be more socially active.
So it’s foolish not to develop strong presence in social channels. But this can’t be our exclusive engagement strategy.
If our target customers are C-Level customers, is that if we are going to connect and engage our customers, we have to connect with them where they are hanging out, not where we may want to be hanging out. Talking to them about LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, trying to get them to hang out there, because that’s where all the cool people are isn’t going to have much of an impact.
Are these guys hanging out on the web? Possibly, but it may not be social channels, they probably go to company web sites, they probably leverage news sites, they look at financial sites. But clearly they are engaging people and being engaged in other places.
If we are selling are products, tools and services for social engagement, then the most qualified prospects may be hanging out in social sites and it makes sense to focus our engagement there. (Hmm, I wonder if those who haven’t learned how to spell social are worth going after???)
My point is not to diminish the importance of having a social presence and engaging our customers and prospects socially. It is important and will grow in importance. But social engagement can only be a part of our overall engagement strategy. And for those that say social is it, I only hope 100% of their customers and prospects are hanging out there.
For me, Fortune 500 CEO’s and C-Level execs are part of my target customers set. So I’m going to have to continue to engage them where they are at–and most of them aren’t highly active on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.
Where do your customers hang out? Are you meeting them there?