This morning my friend Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich, shared a blog post from Communications Consultant Jon Buscall titled What If Your CEO Doesn’t Get Social Media.
In his blog, Jon tells the story about a senior manager at a Swedish company who has unsuccessfully tried to bring his CEO in to the 21st century by introducing the concept of Social Media. He tries and tries, but the CEO has made it clear he thinks it’s for children, that their clients aren’t using Social Media, that he will soon begin blocking employee access to Facebook, and, basically, to drop the subject.
Jon then asked his readers these questions:
Do you stick with the company?
Do you try to educate your CEO?
Do you move on?
As I commented to Jon on his blog, these are very important topics he has raised.
I feel pretty passionately that CEOs ought to understand Social Media. I wrote about this last week here.
My answer to Jon:
No, I don’t think you leave just because your boss is uninformed and uneducated about Social Media, or any marketing tactics for that matter. It’s our job to do what we can to teach them, to get through to them, and to try our best to advance the ball. You need a much thicker skin that allows you to be the champion of these initiatives, or any initiatives that fall within your area of responsibility.
Social Media are still very new, so this attitude is common. In her comment to Jon on his blog, Gini Dietrich stated that she hears this all the time from the CEOs she trains.
It’s prevalent in the C-suite, and many suites for that matter, to have these thoughts. For marketers to job-hop because one communications component is not fully developed at your company or firm doesn’t help your resume either. It just says that you didn’t get what you want, so you took your toys and went home. You have no success to show from that job experience.
Stay on top of it yourself for now. Soak up as much information as possible. Learn and use the tools so that you can talk about Social Media and other marketing developments in a sophisticated and educational manner. Gather case studies that bolster your position, and study those that refute it. That’s your job, even if your CEO doesn’t know that yet.
No marketer is hired to be a yes person, so be patient, be as informed as possible, be diligent, be educational, be kind in your approach to informing others in your firm on an ongoing basis, and you will begin to make progress. It might not be as swift as you’d like, but it is bound to happen.
If you’ve helped the company or firm by creating a thorough marketing plan, then all of the plan’s sections will logically lead to the right tools, or tactics, to accomplish what is set out in the goals section of that plan, whether they be social media or any other kind of communication and sales tactics. At this point, you can then point out the right sites and tools to help accomplish what has been identified in the plan.
If your CEO gets irritated and tells you point blank to stop educating them, and that your job is on the line if you don’t stop, then it’s time for a serious discussion about why they hired you, but not until you’ve exhausted all the effort discussed above.
Thank you very much to Frerieke for the image used above.