CEOs lack time to take part in Social Media

Close to a billion people are using social media platforms today.

Most, of them are doing it for personal use but more and companies are jumping on the bandwagon.  Though some CEOs are embracing social media most of them despise it and stay away as far as possible.  This brings up a lot of challenges for the social media champions and social media addicts to convert and convince these people.

Most CEOs do not (want to) see the benefits of social media because their mind is set on other things such as return on investment.  Social media can reap a lot of return but unfortunately, it takes time and most CEOs and executives do not have that time (to wait for results).

In a recent survey done by Vanguard Leadership, we found that a remarkable number of Belgian CEOs are present on one of the major platforms (89%). However, less than 25% are active.  So what are their reasons not to be active:

  • Lack of time – CEOs do not spend, like most of us, time in front of their PC, ipad or even smart phone. Let’s be real they are not paid to do the legwork.
  • Lack of peers and interaction – This is a continuation of the above point.  Since they are not taking time to read, comment or contribute to social media there is no interaction between them and others (peers or not).  No interaction means no incentive to contribute.
  • Information overload and quality – Having a lot of information is good for decision making but we all know that social media provides too much information. And if you do not control it properly (and that takes time) it creates overload.  Too much (unqualified) information leads to confusion and bad decision making.  Not what a CEOs is waiting for…
  • Lack of knowledge and understanding – Most CEOs are not digital natives.  So social media is not part of their DNA. Time and energy are needed to learn about a multitude of platforms.  And the speed of evolution of these platforms brings on another big problem for them when trying to keep up with these evolutions.  A challenge CEOs do not really need or want.  Additionally, they only hear the bad stories because good stories are less told so why should they invest their valuable time.

However, there are some good reasons why  you need to convince them to join.  More and more CEOs are doing it and seeing the benefits:

  • By taking part in social media the CEO demonstrates his leadership in adopting new technologies and thus more members from the executive team will join.  A great starting point to get CEO buy-in is to implement social media internally first.  By using social media internally not only does communication improve (less distance between management and employees) but lessons are learned internally and no mistakes are made when social media is externalized.
  • When CEOs use social media with customers, suppliers and  employees, it makes the person and company more human and you get the benefit of more opinions and easier accessibility
  • It is clear that a CEO can boost the brand by using social media.  Many US examples have shown the way here.
  • Finally, when the CEOs is on social media, the company is able to attract easier young people since the company is seen as a dynamic operation.

The conclusion is really that today’s CEO is far from joining actively social media because of the lack of time but once convinced he will be the motor that can shifts the company into a higher gear.


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