Well, what do you know? CEOs are finally getting jiggy about social media…or so it seems.
According to an IBM survey of 1,709 CEOs in 64 countries and 18 business sectors, social media will become the second-most popular way to interact with customers, behind face-to-face meetings. Right now, social media is sixth behind face-to-face, Websites, channel partners, traditional media and advisory groups.
“It’s all part of this move towards openness, both with your customers, with your employees, your business partners, and engaging them all together in what I call this redefinition of the organization—more broadly defined,” said Saul Berman, a partner in IBM’s global business services organization and one of the study’s two executive leaders.
What I want to know is what too CEOs so long to get on the social bandwagon?
Heck, we’re at least five years into the social “revolution”, and most brands see social media as table stakes, so you’d expect the people at the top of the corporate foodchain would have, in theory, embraced social media already.
The reality, however, is CEOs can be creatures of habit, which makes it difficult for them to get excited new and exciting trends and movements. The last thing a CEO wants to do is jump on the bandwagon too early amid the fear they’re one of the few people on it.
There is also the issue of demographics. In general, most CEOs are older so their understand and use of social media is likely, at best, modest. For many of them, their exposure to social media is limited to their PR teams and their children.
According to the IBM study, only 16% of CEOs use social media, although that is expected to climb to 57% within the next five years.
While the survey is eye-opening, it isn’t terribly surprising. The reality is many companies are using social media to some extent even if their CEOs aren’t enthusiastic about it yet. The bandwagon is already rolling at a high clip so it’s just a matter of time before CEOs decide to jump on for the ride.