Getting the boss on board with social and digital

Dionne Kasian-Lew

Dionne Kasian-Lew

It can be difficult to convince risk-averse business leaders of the value of social and digital. Meanwhile their organisations miss out on the rewards offered by the digital economy and fail to connect with social savvy consumers.

I spoke to Dionne Kasian-Lew about how marketing and communications professionals can lead the social and digital agenda in their organisations and get the boss on board.

Dionne Kasian-Lew is the CEO of The Social Executive™. She is also the author of The Social Executive: the multi-trillion social economy and an advisor to boards and executives on leadership, innovation and corporate and communications strategy.

Justine Hyde: Business leaders often worry about the risks of engaging in digital and social. What are the risks of not engaging?

Dionne Kasian-Lew: The digital economy is growing while many other areas are in decline. The IDC says global ecommerce is worth 16 trillion and Boston Global Consulting predicts for G20 nations social will be worth $4.2 trillion by 2016. Companies that are online and engaging are outperforming others. Businesses need to think about the fact that eight new people come online every second and most are using social or mobile to connect.

Some executives think social media is a fad but look at two examples. LinkedIn was established in 2003 and now has 200 million users, most of whom are professionals. Facebook is about to turn nine and has a billion users. This is not a fad.

JH: How does a business leader become digitally literate?

DKL: Literacy is having enough knowledge about an issue to make good decisions about it. Boards and c-suites need to know the difference between ICT, digital and social media and how they contribute to the success of a business.

Given the opportunities and risks presented by digital and social media, boards should be asking their CEO: what’s our online marketing/engagement strategy? It’s time for social and digital bootcamp for boards and c-suites.

JH: How can communications professionals influence their CEOs to see the social and digital ‘light’?

DKL: Executives are lagging when it comes to adopting social media. The most common question I am asked is: how do I influence the boss?

My response is to ask communications professionals what social media channels they are using and what they are doing to position social media in their organisation. I ask them what their competitors in this space are doing and who they look to as benchmarks for practice in their industry. I ask how they are leading the change in their organisation. Finally, I question them about what game-changing technologies could blow their company out of the water.

It stuns me that few people can answer these questions, since with their analytical and creative strengths communicators are in the best position to lead this change.

Communicators need to know the business case for social media, be digitally literate and understand the impact of digital on productivity.

This means using the various platforms, learning how people connect and share and figuring out which of those platforms is best for you and your business. We must be sure to have our own house in order before we can attempt to influence the boss.

JH: How do organisations become strategic with digital and ‘social era’ ready?

DKL: A good start is to understand the digital and social lay of the land and to know what is happening in their industry specifically. Organisations need to know who their customers are, what they want, and how they want it.

Next, they need to develop a strategy that accounts for future capabilities required in the business. Once they understand these capabilities they can begin to build these capabilities by training existing staff and recruiting new talent.

JH: What are the digital and social trends to watch for 2013/14?

DKL: We will see increased convergence and integration of digital and social into our lives, bodies and beings. Google Glass has arrived, digital clothing sensitive to body heat already exists, as do technologies that allow us to self-diagnose medical conditions. We have digital pacemakers and 3D printed kidneys.

In social we are moving from using individual platforms to working across channels (like email) through Google+.

This article originally appeared on the SMK blog.

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Personal branding insights from Power Stories author Valerie Khoo

valerie_khoo

Social media has opened up the potential for managing your professional profile or ‘personal brand’ with a much broader network.

Increasingly, professionals are looking to platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter to initiate digital handshakes, to make new connections and to find a wider audience for their ideas.

Valerie Khoo is National Director of the Australian Writers’ Centre, co-founder of SocialCallout.com and author of Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business. Her personal blog at ValerieKhoo.com was just named by SmartCompany as one of the 20 best business blogs in Australia.

I spoke to Valerie about how she has successfully built her personal brand and asked her advice on how to harness the power of social media to do this.

JH: What is personal branding and why is it important to today’s professionals?

VK: Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s what you’re known for. Your personal brand helps you stand out from the crowd. Your personal brand will help create opportunities and open doors for you. If people have already heard about you, and if you’ve developed that all important “know, like and trust” factor through your online presence, it’s easier to get meetings with busy people, secure speaking engagements, acquire new customers or even score yourself a book deal. If you’re not paying attention to creating and building your personal brand, you’re just making it harder for yourself to get ahead. Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever before to build your personal brand – if you are strategic about it and use social media as a tool to connect with others and to showcase your expertise.

JH: You’ve been very successful building the brand of the Australian Writers’ Centre and your own personal brand. How did you do this?

VK: At the core of building both these brands is authenticity and passion. With the Australian Writers’ Centre, we are passionate about sharing resources that will help people in our writing community. We tweet links to useful articles, competitions, courses and any information that will help aspiring writers. We also answer queries through social media – and we help people wherever we can, whether they are one of our customers or not. My personal brand is a bit different. I often share links to useful resources or have conversations on social media about topics I’m interested in such as writing, entrepreneurship, and blogging. But my social media stream isn’t all business. I also share a small part of my personal interests as well. Anyone who follows me on social media will know I love my pets!

JH: How does social media complement more traditional ways of building your profile such as networking and speaking engagements?

VK: All these methods are important. Real life networking is invaluable. Similarly, speaking engagements are a wonderful way to connect with a room full of people. You can’t catch up for coffee with everyone so social media enables you to maintain connections. I’ve made some wonderful friends on social media who have turned into real life besties.

JH: What is the most challenging part of building your personal brand via social media?

VK: You should be protective of your personal brand and the image you’re presenting to people via social media. Think before you Tweet. If you complain about your staff or share drunken photos from the weekend, you’re leaving a clear impression about who you are and what you value. Use your common sense.

JH: What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had?

VK: When I released my book “Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business”, I was amazed when my Twitter stream suddenly filled with photographs of people with my book and comments about how much they were enjoying it. They were all using the hashtag #powerstories. Not only was I grateful for everyone’s kind words, it was so wonderful to see people sharing their experience of the book with their own followers. Other people were reinforcing my own personal brand. I felt blessed by this.

This post originally appeared on the SMK blog