I work directly with senior level executives on their communications programs. On a telephone conference call with two VPs, I suggested that as a part of their thought leadership program either one or both of them should be social networking (by setting up a blog, commenting on trade magazine blogs, creating a Facebook profile, joining linked in, etc.). It’s a relatively small investment of their time and can lead to some great interactive conversations.
As expected, the suggestion was met with resistance. The first question from the executives is always, “Why should we be blogging and how are we going to reach C-level decision makers and other professionals to sell our programs?” It’s a valid question. After answering this question numerous times for other senior level executives I felt confident about my answer. I explained, “Blogging and social networking are about conversations and it’s a great way to reveal your expertise and thought leadership. As you network in communities, you will come across C-level and senior level executives because they are out there having conversations, with or without you. You definitely won’t be pitching anyone through a blog because that’s not what blogging is about. However, you will have interesting, in-depth conversations with people who share like interests, which can lead to relationships. Let’s face it – the best relationships can turn into business for your company. Blogging is also a great way to reach the influencers, those bloggers who have captured the attention of many people who may be interested in what you have to say. You can reach people that you may not have been able to reach before.
Sometimes I think business professionals should just take the leap leaving all of their questions and concerns in the back of their minds. If they would just experiment with different social media applications that made sense in their PR programs, they would realize the benefits of blogging and social networking a lot quicker. And, chances are if they searched right now on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc., they would see their competitors having conversations and building relationships. Unfortunately, if you ignore the blogosphere and disregard the conversations, then you do this at your own risk.