Global Congress: Digital reputation panel discusses boardroom view on social media

Digital evangelists have done a "disservice" to social media by failing to frame it in a way that appeals to top corporate executives, the PRWeek Global Congress has heard.

"As practitioners we’ve done a disservice to the industry because we keep on pushing the word social when it comes to CEOs," said IBM’s global partner for social business Andrew Grill.

"When I’m asked to go and speak to the CEOs of different companies and I am faced with a skeptical audience I will instead talk about market research and use that as a way to frame the conversation – I drop the word social."

Also on the digital reputation panel were Nestle deputy head of global media relations Chris Hogg, GE Healthcare global digital and social media PR manager Veronica Botet and Cargill’s VP corporate affairs, EMEA, Penny Studholme.

Hogg said that "the men in grey suits are starting to get" social media now after an initial struggle to accept its credibility.

Studholme argued that company communicators should not just be wary of alienating the boardroom but also the public by sounding too corporate, and should ensure they contribute meaningfully to online conversations.

"As a corporate comms person remember you are the uninvited guest at the party, and if you want to be invited make sure you bring something that people want – don’t turn up to a beach party in a tuxedo."

The two-day PRWeek Global Congress and Awards is taking place in Barcelona.

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