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Social Media is About Listening, Not Talking

The uses of social media are more widespread than just business-to-consumer companies. Every CEO needs to think about how social …

The uses of social media are more widespread than just business-to-consumer companies. Every CEO needs to think about how social can affect they way they do business. In this Knowledge@Wharton article, the CEO of a business services company talks with Wharton professors about the broad implications this new technology has across businesses.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • “Most people misinterpret what social media’s about. They use it as a talking vehicle. Social media is a listening vehicle. It’s both. But most people don’t understand that the real power is to be able to listen to the customer in a real time and effective way.”
  • “On an individual basis, LinkedIn would be my preference in terms of a tool for CEOs to use [on their own]…it’s a great way to keep your colleagues and associates posted as to things that you’re doing and to see what they’re doing, kind of on a real time basis.”
  • “What social media has allowed companies to do is to listen to customers in real time. You think about the biggest problem companies have: What is it? It’s customer defection and churn. You know why? Because you spend a huge amount of money on acquisition costs, [but] many customers don’t stay around long enough. And so the opportunity for social media listening in today’s environment…is you give people a platform to speak. And you’d better listen then. If you give them a platform to speak … they’re expecting faster response than in previous days.”
  • “That customer service is where you really are on the front lines and seeing directly what people are saying about you now nearly in real time. What a lot of CEOs need to remember is that these conversations are going on with or without you. And my view is you need to be having that dialogue with customers where they are meeting and aggregating and discussing your company or your brand, or else you’re just totally missing the boat.”
  • “From the C-Suite perspective, you have to be able to see the entire landscape. You have to be able to know what’s coming up. You have to be able to know what’s going to affect your company next, and in a real way so that you can effect organizational change. It does default to listening, understanding the landscape, benchmarking where you are, benchmarking where your company is and benchmarking where your employees are. But as a word of advice going forward, by listening that way, by understanding and hearing where the world is, you’re going to be able to discern what shiny object is meaningful or not meaningful….”

 

Read: Social Media in the C-Suite: Listening, Learning and Creating a Strategy from the Top Down

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