Executives and social media: 3 reasons to encourage attention and 4 tips to get started


More and more, executives have questions about social media, and recently they have turned to me for answers.

It’s clear they’re moving along the continuum of interest from ‘I’ll let this fad pass,’ to ‘wow, I best get on board this train before I get left behind.’

Because I grapple with the same issues, people feel comfortable approaching me with what could be seen as “basic” questions. Typically, the conversation starts with a light touch on the shoulder, and a motion to talk in private. These chats have recurring themes:

- I am not a social media native
- I have little idle time
- I need to accelerate the learning curve and get value

Just last week, I met with an executive who really wanted to learn more about social. We sat down to lunch and I immediately launched my browser to jump into a demonstration of the various social networks and tools.

She reached over and tapped my arm to get my attention. She asked a question that reminded me once again why she has been so successful in her career..."Deb, before we get started, give me some context. Why is Social Media so important? Why should I spend time learning and using it?"

My answer? There are 3 reasons:

  1. Nearly all companies now recruit via Social Media
  2. The demographics of the US population will change drastically in next 5-10 years due to the Millenials joining the workforce. Their methods of communication, their trust and openness, and their use of Social Media will overwhelm us. It will happen fast. Boomers were a huge influence due to their overwhelming numbers. This "Echo Boom" brings with it not only numbers (60 million, just shy of the 78 million Boomers) but a vastly different view of communication.
  3. Increasingly, customers make buying decisions based on digital content. It’s imperative that we make our content and service available to them on their terms.

After setting the stage with this context, I walk through these 4 steps, which, by the way, could be used to pique the interest of anyone in your organization:

  1. Google your name. What appears? Is it what you had hoped for? This is your brand!
  2. Create value by networking: LinkedIn profile and groups. Two really great sources are from Fortune and another is a blog by Jason Alba that refers to how Chris Brogan uses LinkedIn
  3. Determine if Twitter is a good fit. I show people how I use TweetDeck as a content aggregator and search tool. Who I follow is becoming less important than the searches I monitor.
  4. Teach people to listen before contributing to the discussion.

For more tips and tricks, I recommend Chris Brogan's newest book, Social Media 101, and a great new video titled ‘Social Media Revolution 2’ that’s filled with interesting, and sometimes shocking, statistics concerning the social environment.

Don't get left behind!


About Author

Deb Orton

Senior Marketing Director

Senior Marketing Director responsible for US focused Field Marketing campaign teams.


  1. Social media is definitely going to be a big part of business. Executives are wise to want to lean more about it, it's essential.

  2. AB Castillo on

    Hello! Thank you for this very useful post. The four steps that you listed will be a very helpful framework for my own organization's "reorientation" and "refocusing". We used to underestimate the power of Social Media, and we almost got left behind. So, thanks to your post, we now have a clearer view of the essential questions to ask. Thank you so much.

  3. Jerod Whisnant on

    This is all so true. I was using social media long before I became interested in business. So my facebook and twitter pages have already established my online identity.

  4. Anthony Smith on

    I have only started using tweetdeck and i find its the best tool ive seen yet for social networking.

  5. kelvin wilson on

    This is a great article i didn't realize that social media would have this type of impact on the coming generations, and i never looked at it from the stand point of the baby boomers. thank you for the insight.

  6. nashville guy on

    Any sufficiently large company should be on social media. For small ones, such as mine, the amount of time to invest to do it properly just is not worth the ROI. Social media doe snot appear to be something you can do half-assed. If you stick your head out in public, I think you need to make sure the rest of you is prepared to follow. (I think I accidentally created a mixed metaphor there - or at least a mangled one.)

  7. Thank for sharing all of those tips.
    You are right, nowadays, Social Media really works and really help full for my business. I use Social Media for recruitment sometimes
    For sure, I'll use this kind of Social Media to run my business.

  8. Scott Clastrone on

    I am still not entirely convinced by the Social Media importance, in business aspect. Perhaps I have not explored it far enough. For me, these are just sites where people gather and play games, I rarely stumble upon anything that is useful really. Just my 2cents worth.

  9. Jane Taylor on

    Yep, Social Media are very important nowadays because of the great impact that it can give to the companies. Through Social Media they can promote their business easily and effectively.

  10. Social media is hard to keep up with and be able to do your regular work. I have completed just about everything you mention and am still working on more. It is never ending.
    Thanks for the article because it gives me more thoughts and ideas.

  11. I really appreciate this post. I have finally gotten myself into Facebook and LinkedIn, but for some reason I am still terrified of Twitter. This post made me think I should try one more time.

  12. Thanks for a very insightful article. I think I'm way behind the times as I'm still getting used to E-mails and texting with my cell phone. It makes perfect sense that this new generation just now entering the work force will change everything and we need to get on board or get left behind.

  13. Thanks for a great article. I think I'm way behind the times as I don't do Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. I pretty much rely on E-mails and text-messaging. Your article helped me to see that this next generation entering the workforce will change everything, and if we want to reach them with our marketing we need to get on board with social media, or get left behind.

  14. lose weight plan on

    Excellent insights. I never would have thought that social media now has a great impact to businesses.

  15. Jake Rhodes on

    It makes great sense to recruit and promote your brand via social media. These avenues are nearly as popular as search engines now and they allow you to be a lot more personal than you can be on a regular static website.

  16. Glen Carder@make money online on

    I do agree that many companies are now into Social Media activities.
    They see the value of it... Social media is very useful for their marketing campaigns.

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