Here is the advance reading for corporate directors who will be attending:
Directors in the Digital Age – Social Media
No surprise that directors would have reservations when it comes to social media.
Let me share a few of my favorite comments I hear from Corporate Directors:
1. Show me the ROI on what people had for breakfast.
2. I don’t have enough time.
3. I am concerned about my privacy.
4. We are B2B / We are industrial. Our customers are NOT using social media.
5. There is too much change to keep up with.
If you’ve had these thoughts, now is time to put them behind you. In today’s connected world your company has a unique platform to listen and communicate with their customers, employees, investors, fans and critics.
Social media is simply another media platform to help you achieve your company’s objectives. It is growing in importance to your company and your industry. Social media encompasses many platforms with one thing in common….it provides a two-way conversation.
The pivot for business is to understand and adapt their communications to participate in a conversation they no longer control. The 21st century boardroom needs you to use your creativity to support your CEO and the strategy that optimizes digital opportunities.
You need to encourage your CEO to play offense and get your company aligned with social media. To empower CEO success, you need to step up and play defense for your CEO. The role you play is to support your CEO in this exploration.
Directors Don’t Tweet, They Listen
So take your hands off the keyboard. Focus your thinking on how social media is impacting your business and how it has opened up a new media channel. The question to ask is: are we listening?
Social media is now being used by customers, employees, investors, stakeholders, and critics to discuss your company: Social media listening can happen across the enterprise: sales and marketing, investor relations, human resources, risk and business development. Each area has unique conversations happening on social media.
How is your CEO exploring methods to listen and summarize these conversations for you? Your CEO should ensure that the procedures for crisis identification and escalation are defined and understood by employees and your board.
Here are some questions to ask:
For Your Business:
- How would you describe your social media policy?
- What are your vulnerabilities compared with your competitors?
- What insights are coming out of social media listening from the operating units?
- How are you monitoring for customer service and crisis conversations?
- What is your plan for speaking and listening during a crisis?
- What training are you doing for employees?
- What have you done to ensure your outside advisors can be a resource?
For the Boardroom:
- What social media information is essential for the board?
- How is the information formatted for the entire board and/or by committee?
- How often does the board want to review their social media dashboard?
- What competitive information can be culled from social sites (big data) that provide unique insights into investors, customers, industry, competitors and management?
- What is being said by our investors, analyst, shareowners and stakeholders around our annual meetings, quarterly calls and presentations?
You do not have to tweet to understand the social media landscape and how it is changing your business opportunities and risks. We drive cars yet many of us don’t know how combustion engines work. However, decide what you will do to accelerate your learning curve to become engaged in the broader topic of social media and how it impacts your business.
Digital Crisis Identification and Response Plan
In the Risk Map below, social media is at location 4, in the yellow zone. In times of crisis, social media will accelerate your reputation risk by moving in the direction of the red arrow. This is why it is critical for you to have a prepared plan for managing social media as part of your crisis management strategy. Your oversight of the social media strategy is essential and requires management to be proactive in their thinking and planning.
Social media is challenging our thinking about who talks and who listens. In all cases, the key is to ensure you have a plan that can see across the enterprise.
Resources for the Corporate Director
SOCIAL MEDIA What Boards Need to Know
May 2012 | practicallaw.com
Holly J. Gregory
WEIL, GOTSHAL & MANGES LLP
Holly specializes in advising companies and boards on corporate governance matters.
Top Five Questions Directors Need To Ask About Social And Digital Media
June 2011 | Fast Company
Richard S. Levick
LEVICK Strategic Communications
Richard Levick, Esq. President & CEO of LEVICK Strategic Communications, represents countries and companies in the highest-stakes global crises and litigation.