Senior Executives' Use of Social Media Suggests Room to Grow

We know that many people have no reservations about using social networking media at work (if their employers have not blocked their access), but top managers may be another story. A study done by Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law revealed that many managers are concerned about potentially negative effects of their employees using social networking web sites. Approximately 50% believed that employee productivity would suffer as a result of accessing social networking sites. A similar percentage of managers surveyed feared that a careless employee could tarnish the reputation or image of the company with inappropriate postings.

While there is some validity to the concerns when employees use social networking web sites, the real concern could be in who is not using social media: the executives themselves. In the same study, 70% of the managers surveyed said they visit a social networking web site at least weekly. What is is troubling is that only 52% of executives using social media said they log on to read what customers and other people are saying about their company. They are almost as likely to use it to monitor what is being said about competition (47%) as they are monitoring what is being said about their own brand.

Findings from this study reveal a missed opportunity for top management. A channel is being cultivated that gives an unprecedented amount of feedback from customers and the front lines. Yet, almost half of the managers who otherwise use social media do not take advantage of the opportunity to read what people are saying about them. Why? Are they afraid of what they will read? Do they feel that reading customer feedback is the job of others in the organization? I am at a loss on this one. It is time for these managers to tap into the conversation about their brands. Better yet, it is time for those managers sitting on the social media sidelines to get into the game!

Center for Media Research - "Corporate Use of Social Networking Still an Executive Concern"

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