Wherever I travel, people are using social media, the internet and mobile as a way to make and inform their decisions.
While I know many people think social media a fad and in fact, still think it's a fad and will go away. Social Media is here to stay and is changing our world!
The Bed and Breakfast I'm writing this in in Revelstoke in Canada was found on the internet, we compared it with other B&Bs and we found reviews, we made a decision.
This business to consumer (B2C) has crossed over to business to business (B2B). Now if we want to buy something, we will research the company, the employees and the CEO as part of the decision making process.
What we are looking for is something "real", if we are going to buy something for $100K then we want a long term relationship with that business.
A corporate culture of shouting at the market and telling people how great they are was Ok in the 1990s but does not work in the world today. Buyers are too clever and of course, we have access to an infinite amount of content ..... that can help us.
This ability of buyers to "touch" a company has changed the buying process. We will of course check out certain aspects of the product online, but we also will instigate the people and the management, including the CEO. Companies cannot hide behind some corporate megaphone in the name of "brand".
In Seattle last week I was talking to a CEO and they said "of course, if people buy our services and sales hand the prospect off to the delivery people, I would expect the delivery people to be looked up on Linkedin."
This CEO also went onto to say that as "lighting conductor" for the business, he had a social media presence.
First he needed to set an example for the business. Lead by example and show the business they needed to be on social.
Plus he needed to be visible to clear up customer experience issues.
And finally, he needed to as CEO to be visible as he was the leader of the business and with clients and prospects being on social. He knew it was expected for him to be there as well. The alternative? To be invisible.
I should say at this point, this is not about your PR company to run the CEOs social media presence, this is a big mistake. This is about your CEO being authentic and providing the leadership (and understanding) in the social media age.
It's time for all you leadership team, your employees and your sales team to be on social.
88% of investors make decisions based on information from digital sources, says Brunswick's Digital Investor Survey