THE BLOG

Respect Your Elders When it Comes to Social Media

07/09/2014 05:46 EDT | Updated 09/08/2014 05:59 EDT
HP

Today, technology is moving so quickly even "digital natives" who grew up with it have a tough time keeping pace. Although our capacity to consume or digest information is the same as it was 50 or 500 years ago, the sheer quantity of information and content is now coming at us a much greater pace than we've ever faced before.

To many professionals, "social media" may have a negative connotation associated with it. Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? All a waste of time? Nothing but pure narcissism and self-indulgence? There may be some truth to those perceptions but there is also the opportunity to drive ROI (return-on-investment) versus more "Likes" or "Followers"; such as the opportunity to become more efficient in terms of productivity and driving results when leveraging digital and social media and the opportunity to create stronger relationships with your employees, clients, prospects and passionate advocates.

It is suggested Millennials "get it" but what about seasoned folks like senior executives who have been building, leading and navigating companies? And furthermore doing so through the most turbulent period of financial and technological change in recent history? Some state the aforementioned group are old, close-minded, scared and are basically "Dinosaurs".

Nonsense.

I've personally witnessed senior executives willing to learn and embrace digital and social media. For all the opportunity that exists, real engagement from Presidents, CEO's, Founders and Business Leaders must happen first. Engagement occurs when they understand how digital, social media working together can drive their businesses forward.

This group will embrace digital and social media platforms if others take the time to show them real value to the point where it resonates personally. This recent Globe & Mail article about Canadian executives questioning the value of social media underlines this point.

Emailing them a bunch of slides, sharing the newest infographic or quoting unsourced social media statistics from a conference someone shared on Twitter won't cut it. What will is making a compelling case and showing this intelligent group of leaders both the "why" and then "how" their business will benefit from these platforms.

We're all capable of also doing a much better job teaching others and doing so with a bit of humility. It means not sneering when someone doesn't know what a "Hashtag" means or don't (brace for the shock) have their own Tumblr account!

What if we listened first and then asked business leaders the right questions as to what really mattered to them personally and businesses they lead? There is a chance if we try listening, we might just learn some valuable things from them.

Does forcing someone to adopt LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine all at once make sense? I firmly believe that mastering one platform someone is naturally curious about and building from there when they see the ROI both personally and professionally is the best way to go.

Someone much wiser than me once told me being called a "Dinosaur" isn't negative. Why? A Dinosaur has history and can give clues of what not to do if one can pursue it with an open mind. History does repeat itself and that isn't always good.

Dinosaurs tell that story.

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