If you are a CEO, it’s time to get on Twitter. If you know a CEO, do him or her a favor and tell him to get on Twitter. If you are the PR counsel to a CEO, make him get on Twitter. America has about had it with our business leaders: from Enron’s deceit, to the auto industry’s incompetency, to AIG’s bonuses. Trust and confidence is at an all time low. Even Steve Jobs is no longer immune given the lack of openness about his illness. There’s a sense that you’re insular, selfish, focused on the short term and don’t give a damn about anyone but yourself and maybe the board that protects you. But if you get on Twitter, here’s what will happen.
1. You’ll personally get to hear and feel what people think about your company, about your industry and about you.
2. You’ll discover that you don’t have to be so damn scared of the public. They’re not trying to bring you down. They just want you to be accountable.
3. You’ll find that there are hundreds, if not thousands of smart people with good ideas that can actually help you lead and make decisions.
4. You’ll be surprised to find that the return on being honest and open and generous is as high as virtually any other investment you can make.
5. You’ll encounter a community of people willing to give you credit just for being there and trying.
6. You’ll get a chance to test and improve your ideas, your communication skills and your knowledge of popular culture.
7. You’ll be taking the first step toward building a customer-centric organization.
8. You’ll have the chance to turn prospects into customers, customers into loyalists, and loyalists into advocates.
9. You’ll be a significant step ahead of your competitors unless they get there before you.
10. You’ll conclude that you never again want to be so isolated from the people who buy, and will buy, your products and services.
The holy grail has just been handed to you. What in God’s name are you waiting for?
Edward Boches is chief creative officer for Mullen, one of the country’s leading integrated advertising agencies. He’s a writer by craft, a social media enthusiast, and an aspiring children’s book author.