In the time it has taken you to read this sentence, fifty thousand tweets have been sent. How may of those tweets could end up with your company as the 140 character headline? How many of those messages would be favorable? Leading the boardroom in our fast changing digital, social and mobile world is not for the faint of heart. Knowledge is no longer reserved for the privileged few.
With a few clicks your customers can learn more about your business offerings and price competiveness then your sales team knew 10 years ago. Social media refers to platforms/sites hosted on the internet that provide a gathering place for people to interact with each other. Once people are assembled on a site they are free to create, share, and exchange information and ideas. Facebook, launched in 2006, it now leads social media with over 1.4 billion monthly active users and 71% of online adults (Pew Research). 87% of 18-29 year olds are using Facebook along with 56% of seniors.
It has changed the way people communicate, learn and share information across time, space and cultural boundaries. Social media gives you, others in your organization, and everyone outside your organization a platform to be heard as a fan or a critic of your business.
The conversation happens with or without your business participating. Your boardroom can choose to ignore the conversation, or be advantaged by gaining insights from it. Traditional sources of information such as newspapers, magazines, television, paid advertising, and trade shows are rapidly declining in authority.
The global trend is toward social media as a primary source of information for younger generations and their primary channel of communication. This trend is occurring at a rapid rate with the cost of social media being significantly lower than the traditional alternatives. And the primary tool, the Smartphone, is ubiquitous in even the developing world. So effectively there are no “barriers to entry”.
Social media’s growth is driving global connectivity: there are 1.7 billion people today with active social media accounts using mobile devices; there are 3 billion people with active internet usage, nearly half the total population of our planet. Internet connectivity has become indispensable to our modern economy and will continue to grow. Mark Bonchek, Founder of thinkORBIT, suggests leaders adopt “a new way of thinking about our changing world – to engage people who are connected and empowered by digital technologies.”
The issues for board chairs to consider are:
• How do I introduce social media to our board so they understand its significance?
• Are our directors and executive team using social media to leverage our knowledge of customers, competitors, investors, employees and stakeholders?
• What conversations are happening now on social media that are relevant to the development and execution of our business strategy? How can we shape these conversations?
• Do we understand the risks associated with social media? Are we prepared to manage them? [Read more…]