From Moron to Social Media Maven

CEOs must learn the value of immediate customer engagement as the “new” marketing.Having trouble getting the top brass to buy in to social media? Maybe the problem is they aren't engaged with customers and accustomed to 2-way interaction.

Social media marketer Jacquie McCarman makes this obvious observation in a recent blog post, "It's Not Your CEO's Fault He's a Social Media Moron."

Lots of companies hand off marketing to, well, the marketing department. "As they do with most marketing initiatives, C-levels let those marketers take the ball and run with it," McCarman writes. "If they succeed, then super. If they fail, then it's really the marketing department's gig and not the fault of any corporate policy."

Well that flies in the face of the organic DNA of social media, which is all about engagement.

As David Merriman Scott describes in "The New Rules of Marketing and PR," marketing today is all about 2-way communication. You listen and you talk. You share, not shout.

This may be a new and even uncomfortable modality for top-level execs. Sorry, you have to change. If you need any recent coaching, look at the nightly news about protests aimed at bringing down long-time dictators. Those protests are fueled by videos on YouTube, Facebook exchanges and tweets.

Social media should be pitched to executives as a way to get engaged. McCarman says social media offers a chance for executives to tap into the passion of what they do for a brand. "Find out why they love the company<' she says. "Find out what they want people to know about the brand. Ask them what they tell people at cocktail parties or business luncheons. Getting to the root of their own, personal opinions about what they do and why will help them toward understanding what social media can do for the company."

Good advice.

Here's some more. Show your executives the power of responding, in real time, to a complaint and turning that person into a zealot for your brand.

Nothing will make social media more popular in the executive suite than the sweet sound of success – one customer at a time.