7 Reasons Why Executives Hate Social Media

Last Updated Apr 14, 2009 8:06 AM EDT

In a previous article about social media, I described the 7 reasons why managers love social media. This instalment focuses on the flip-side of corporate social media perception:
  1. "online conversations could be dangerous, we'll lose control of the brand": social media is about clients, employees or members of your eco-system talking to one another. Such discussions are often perceived negatively by managers. A brand is what your clients "say about you when you're not in the room". Use social media to harness all these discussions rather than pretend you can prevent them. Ken Kaplan declared: "social media is not something to fear but to embrace".
  2. "Social media is a legal minefield": many of those opposed to social media are afraid of the potential risks associated with comments and legal consequences. Your blogs and community sites, can be placed under a separate legal entity which will help you shift the responsibility away from the main business entity. Moderation also needs to be enforced at all times though.
  3. "Online negative feedback is a threat": Often the Kryptonite Blogstorm example will be quoted but this example is exaggerated. Traditional media influence can still be a lot more damaging than online media if you don't take care.
  4. "I don't want employees to be headhunted because of corporate blogging": One of my colleagues once told me that he didn't want his consultants to be seen on the Internet. I subsequently checked the blogger's name on Google and immediately found him in LinkedIn. I then encouraged him to blog for us instead.
  5. "That 2.0 stuff is just for techies": with Internet usage penetration averaging 70% in the UK, this is no longer true. Most web and social media users will be representative of a segment within the overall population. Social media is increasingly becoming a tool for doing business, as long as you are choosing the right platform for the right geography and business sector.
  6. "Social networking is a waste of (my) time": Should you allocate time to improve your networking skills or should you spend more time doing proper business? The fact is that networking is the essence of business. Each time a new tool appears, users are faced with the same problem and that is how to build (or re-build) a network of people. Social media is not a waste of time unless you let yourself be driven by the tool.
  7. "There is no ROI in Social media and corporate blogging in particular": So why bother about Social media now, at a time when criticisms against blogs are rife?
  • the cost of investing in social media is negligible,
  • social media is about user-generated content. This means that experts produce the work as opposed to spending vast amounts of your budget.
  • other benefits include: more motivated experts, increased brand awareness and more efficient communications.

Social media offers so many new capabilities that it is worth making the effort to launch an initiative for your enterprise. Pitfalls exist but there are ways to circumvent the problems. If you remain focussed on your business objectives, social media can be a powerful ally to your marketing strategy.

  • Yann Gourvennec

    Yann Gourvennec is head of internet and digital media at Orange Business Services. He is in charge of the international operator's websites and blogs. and has been in marketing and innovation for over 20 years.