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What CFOs think about social media

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This post was written by SmartBrief’s Tom Anderson.

Chief financial officers — the introverted number-crunchers of the C-Suite — and social media may seem like an unlikely combination. But a survey by Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International, shows even though CFOs have concerns about social media, many see the value in engaging with customers. Lars Asbjornsen, Robert Half International’s vice president of online marketing, offers this advice on how CFOs should approach:

  • How do social media fit with your business? That’s the question every business needs to ask, Asbjornsen says. For consumer brands, being active on Twitter and Facebook make a lot of sense. For companies that sell to other businesses, LinkedIn may be a better venue. Companies should figure what they want from social media before they jump in.
  • Use social media as a listening tool. Social media can alert you to customer-service complaints before you heard them in traditional channels, Asbjornsen says. And that’s how most CFOs are using social media. Ignore the customer complaints on social media at your company’s peril.
  • Put together a best practices and etiquette guide for employees. Social media make every employee a company spokesperson. “The most challenging part is communicating the social-media policy to employees,” Asbjornsen says. “If done right, social media can be a great tool. If not addressed, it can have a negative impact on your business.” A clear policy also will cut down on employees wasting-time aspects of social media use at work.

Key results from Accountemps survey of CFOs about how their views of social media:

What is your greatest concern for your company regarding employees using social media?:

  • Wasting time at work, 51%
  • Behaving unprofessionally, 18%
  • Posting financial/confidential company information, 11%
  • Posting negative comments about company, 10%
  • No concerns, 10%
  • Don’t know/no answer, 1%

* Responses do not total 100% due to rounding.

What is the greatest benefit to your company of employees using social media?

  • Provide better customer service: 28%
  • Enhance company’s reputation: 22%
  • Expand networks of valuable contacts: 20%
  • Can secure new business: 18%
  • No benefits: 10%
  • Don’t know/no answer: 2%