Conference summary: social media for the CEO


Last night, in a small but comfy studio of « VOCALIA Centre de la VOIX et u GESTE », people from all types of different businesses and industries gathered to listen to Eve Mayer Orsburn (@LinkedInQueen) speak. Orsburn, the CEO of Social Media Delivered, author of Social Media for the CEO, and the reigning LinkedIn Queen, is known for her expertise in utilizing social media for business purposes. She spoke excitedly, pausing only to let the translator relate what she was saying in French.

Why are we talking about social media in the first place?

Orsburn began the conference by asking this very question. The first reason she sighted occurred in March 2009, when Nielsen found that, for the first time, the number of interactions on social media surpassed the number of interactions via email. That, Orsburn said, was a big turning point.

The second reason is trust. People are far less likely to trust a commercial they see on TV than a recommendation they find on social media (for example, a product review on Amazon). In fact, Nielsen found that people are willing to trust the opinion of someone completely unknown to them on social media 70% of the time. 70%!

The second question Orsburn asked of her audience was, what is social media?

It is not just Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube. It also includes thousands of blogs, sites like Amazon and EBay, and even email. They key to social media is being social. If a site or a blog, or even an email campaign, allows users to interact and share their opinions, than it can be considered social media.

Now that the basics were defined, Orsburn continued the conference by talking about her company, Social Media Delivered, and explaining how it helps clients utilize social media to achieve their goals. What she sees most with new clients, Orsburn conveyed, is fear – fear that social media is becoming more and more popular, and they are missing the boat. So their first instinct is to establish themselves on as many platforms as possible. That, however, is often counterproductive.

A company often does not need to be on many social networks at once. Depending on its goals, it can pick and choose which platforms will allow it to achieve those goals in a more efficient and a less expensive way.

Who should handle social media?

Some companies choose to manage social media internally, while others prefer to outsource it. Orsburn believes that a combination of both might be the best solution. A company might not have all of the necessary expertise or manpower to manage their presence online, but it still needs to be involved in the process. Even if some of the work is outsourced to a social media agency, someone within the company should still oversee it to make sure that the voice of the brand remains intact.

When choosing a representative in social media, a good question to ask is whether or not you would trust this person with the reputation of your company if they were, for example, speaking directly with clients. It is important for a social media manager not to just know the technology (which can easily be taught), but rather know how to communicate with customers in the voice of the company.

Personal vs. corporate communication

Many companies do not achieve desired results simply because they use social media as they would for personal communication. As individuals, we tend to seek out the people who are similar to us – friends, old classmates, colleagues. A company, however, needs to attract people who are opposite – not other producers and distributors, but consumers who will buy its product.

Social Media Equation™

At the end of the night, the big question still remained: what should a company do on social media? Orsburn opened her book, Social Media for the CEO, to reveal the answer:

Social Media Equation™:

20% information + 20% entertainment + 40% interaction + 20% converting to business

  1. 20% of the time, a company should post practical information (such as location, opening hours, etc.), as well as references or tips that will get people thinking about the company in terms of keywords. VOCALIA, for instance, may mention a historic opera singer (“Want to sounds like this?”), since it offers, among other things, vocal lessons.
  2. 20% of the time, a company needs to entertain its customers to keep them interested. There are three ways to do that:
    1. Humor
    2. Controversy
    3. Make them cry!
  3. 40% of the time, a company needs to interact with its customers, listening to them and responding to their questions and comments.
  4. Finally, 20% of the time, a company needs to sell its product. Many people disagree with Orsburn on this point, saying that social media is a place to build relationships, not sell. She, however, maintains that creating relationships will not help the company achieve its business goals. The brand actually needs to market its products to see results from its social media campaigns.

And voilà. To conclude the conference, Orsburn took a few minutes to give some useful tips.

Where should you be if you are a…

…Business-to-consumer or nonprofit company? Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

…Business-to-business? LinkedIn

With what frequency should you post on…

…Facebook? 1-3 times per day, including weekends

…Twitter? 7-10 times a day

…LinkedIn? Once a day

Also, last Friday, Mary B. Adams, the host of « Social Media for the CEO », interviewed the president of SMC France Pierre-Yves Platini. Take a look!