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By Tim Hughes | @Timothy_Hughes

“We employed interns to do the social media”.

This was an actual response from a large software company we recently talked to.

Put it another way, they were telling me I was wasting my time.

As I had nothing to lose I thought I would ask “Why aren’t you doing it?”

The answer was interesting. “Let’s be honest, our generation just doesn’t get social, so we have employed a generation that does.”

I wished them luck and left.

40% of the world’s population are on social. Why aren’t you?

It was an interesting discussion and I’m sure the lack of judgement of that management won’t really impact on the company’s global number. But I do have an issue with a number of things:

  1. Senior management not getting social is inexcusable in 2017. Two years ago I said that having a management team that got social was a competitive advantage, now it’s business as usual.
  2. This is a sweeping generalisation but we have trained many people and “getting social” is one thing. But using it within a business context? For example organising social events on social is one thing but using it without looking like a spammer and knowing how to contact a CEO on LinkedIn is another. The most common comment we get on our training is “I’ve never seen social used in that way before.” 
  3. For fun I asked the names of the interns on social and looked them up on LinkedIn and Twitter.  My views were confirmed by the lack of social profiles.  As the saying goes: “In the land of the blind, the one eyed person is king.”

In August 2017, We are Social and Hootsuite published the “Global Snapshot” report on internet and social media penetration.

The research showed that 3.8 billion of the world’s population was using the internet – 51% of the world’s population.  Active social media users in August 2017 was 40% of the world’s population, 3 billion people.  I’m baffled that people in senior management positions in commerce can be in their position and not understand something that approaching half of the world’s population uses daily.

How do you turn social off? (Hint: you can’t)

There is so much free information on social media available as indeed there are training courses. To delegate social to interns is at best naïve, at worst dangerous and downright negligent.

It reminds me of the famous HMV social media “fail”. The retailer went into receivership and there were mass sackings, which were broadcast live on Twitter.  One of the managers famously said, “How do you turn that social media thing off”.  We know that, because the person running the social media account heard it and tweeted it.

This HMV event didn’t happen last week or last year, it happened in 2013, light years away in internet time.

In 2017, social is a boardroom issue and people from C-Level downwards need to understand social, how social can be used as a competitive advantage, have a clear social mission statement and a social road map.  In fact I’m surprised that auditors are not asking for these as part of a modern company audit.

Digital Leadership Associates: We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media StrategySocial Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation.

Picture credit: By Jef Poskanzer (originally posted to Flickr as smash) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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