What spurred this blogger to write the above title is an article in BtoB Magazine called “The Social Life,” by Kate Maddox, and features Cisco Systems employees talking about how Cisco does social media.
Yes, Cisco gave this blogger a Flip Video camcorder, yes, this blogger is grateful, but this blogger’s still massively pissed off that Cisco gave up on what CEO John Chambers said in 2009 (in this YouTube video) was represented the “tipping point” of Cisco’s video efforts. Cisco dumped Flip, and I let them know how I felt:
(Oh, and why can’t Cisco name it’s YouTube Channel “Cisco Systems PR” rather than “CISCO PR” and “CSCOPR Channel?” What? Does Cisco PR not want it’s videos to be found? When they named the video with John Chambers in 2009, they called it “Cisco CEO Twitter Q&A” but didn’t include his name: John Chambers. What’s that about? And why didn’t someone go in an re-title and re-tag the video? It’s not for strategy reasons – it’s because they just didn’t think about it.)
My contention stated then is still my charge today: Cisco doesn’t know social media. And until Cisco’s CEO actually does social media himself, I will continue to make that claim again, and again, and again.
What I’m just plain tired of are companies large and small tossing the social media work off to young, pretty girls or one person who is down in the bowls of the firm, screaming to be respected. That BtoB’s Maddox focused on line employees who have the words “social media” somewhere in their overall title points to the problem. The CEO’s of each of the companies represented in the article should be the person Maddox was given access to.
That includes Cisco CEO John Chambers.
The basic problem is that many CEO’s just plain don’t want to do social media. You can’t direct a social media program, you’ve got to DO a social media program. And I don’t care if you call it social media, digital media, or new media, or how many people you hire to do social media, as a CEO you’ve got to DO the media to understand the media.
Otherwise, it’s like the blind leading the blind, with the lone person with site, the social media manager, shining a massively bright light just to be seen.
If you as CEO don’t DO social media, you will not be aware of, for example, how to blog and do social bookmarking so that your message is seen over a wider audience. You will not know how to put out enough content to counter bad information. You, as CEO, may know it in concept, but not in practice.
Moreover, and perhaps most important, you will not be able to place your own unique personal brand on the company’s overall social media message – it becomes the something crafted by the social media manager. If you or your marketing people are spending time constantly correcting what that person puts out, it’s not their fault – it’s yours.
So get with it, and don’t just do the Twitter / Facebook thing – do everything, and then figure out how the “everything” can be integrated into one.
I know the answer – I just want you to do some thinking about social media.
Get to work!