Don’t do anything an exec wouldn’t do.

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People get excited about social media. Finally, executives have stopped thinking that digital engagement is just a crazy fad, or hiring their teenage nephews to launch platforms and strategies. The pendulum has started to swing in the opposite direction!

There appears to be a perception of “If we build it, they will come.”  And for many brands – that may be true. Because of an overall, effective, integrated marketing strategy – there are some companies that are almost guaranteed some digital engagement on their Facebook pages, and blogs. Tweets will be re-tweeted, and and there will be comments on updates.  But for others? Simply starting a blog or releasing a podcast or video just isn’t enough.

And executives remain baffled. They’ve bought in, they’ve heard the success stories – so why isn’t anyone creating new “viral” videos to promote their medical supplies? Why isn’t anyone blogging about their new pencil, or entering the essay or photo contest about sock research.  Why isn’t community spontaneously forming around our product?

And alas, the poor, beleaguered digital strategist tries to engage.  “Well, you see – we need content.  Real, authentic content. Can I film you using the new product? Or can you respond to some of the tweets in a livechat?  Have you signed up for the community and blogged about your experiences with the product?”

And so often, the answer is “no.”  No, the executives don’t have time to tweet, or blog or create a profile. They are busy people, it’s not “worth their time,” or they can’t figure out how to participate.  

So, the idea dies on the vine. And the community fails, and everyone scratches their head. Where are all of the promoters and fans creating content and engaging?

Why is that senior management expects that their fans have the time to tweet and engage and create content around their product, when they don’t have the time to do so themselves?  Why aren’t more executives leading the charge around social engagement?

Now, this doesn’t mean that in order for a campaign to be successful that the execs need to be involved – far from it! But what I am trying to say is that in order for a campaign to really take off, the expectations need to fall in line with reality. Sure, executives and senior management are often comprised of very busy people. But, so are your end-users. They are single parents, or caregivers, or executives of their own organizations. They have scheduling issues and different levels of digital-savvy.

Create campaigns that people want to be involved in. Be authentic and real, and don’t ask more of your customers than you would ask of your biggest internal fans.

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