Social-Insights

What Executives Should Know About Social Media

New research conducted by Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, the Center for Leadership Development and Research at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and The Conference Board details the results of a survey of more than 180 senior executives and corporate directors of North American public and private companies. The findings reveal a disconnect between companies’ understanding of social media and the actions they are taking to apply it to their business. The report demonstrates significant room for growth in the area of practicing social media.

“Companies appreciate the potential that social media can have to transform all aspects of their business: branding, reputation, communication, outreach, and identifying strategic risks,” says Professor David F. Larcker of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and lead author of the study. “They also realize the serious threats that it can pose. They’re just not doing very much about it.”

The study provides several important steps that executives can follow to implement a winning social media strategy:

  • Assess their current capabilities with social media
  • Determine how social media fits with their strategy and business model
  • Map their companies’ key performance indicators and risk factors to information available through social media
  • Implement a “listening” system to capture social media data and transform it into metrics
  • Develop formal policies and guidelines for employees, executives, and directors
  • Consider the legal and behavioral ramifications that could be involved if the company’s board receives summary data about social media

An appreciation for social media is one thing; putting best practices in place and making full use of social is another.