The Tipping Point: Why CFOs Must Get Social

Image via Flickr by Benstein

Social media has transformed the way businesses market and interact with consumers, but did you know that it’s influenced the way executive management communicates as well? Forbes sums it up succinctly: your CFO needs a Facebook page. Really. According to a recent survey by Oracle and Financial Executives International, the key values in digital business that CFOs value most are:

  • Mobile technology
  • Cloud computing
  • Social media
  • Big Data

The reality is that as digital business continues to change the landscape, the ROI for social media continues to improve. It’s become a table stakes that many CFOs can’t ignore anymore, especially as finance professionals are evolving to become strategic players as well.

Of course, a social media presence won’t replace the technical skills of actually being a CFO, but finance professionals are increasingly needing to excel when dealing with the media and brokering those peripheral relationships. Currently, CFOs mostly communicate and interact with shareholders, regulators, and investors. But as the landscape changes, CFOs might soon find themselves pitching their company, services, and products to customers, supply chain partners, suppliers, and other major players. As companies go social, the CFO must continue to lead as a chief innovator.

Leveraging Social Business for Growth and Efficiency

As pioneers in the social media landscape, CFOs must deal with the reality that traditional ROI measures may not provide the most accurate assessments. The process of evaluating impact through an ROI calculation isn’t as clear-cut as numerical problems. Still, with the clear benefits that social media provides, there’s no reason for CFOs to embrace social media in their finance strategy. Finance professionals can leverage social media for:

  • Brand Building. One of the biggest case studies of social media for brand building is McDonald’s, which launched the McRib almost solely through social media creating solid publicity and widespread success for the limited-time offer.
  • Crowd Sourcing. Many brands are now using social media to listen directly to their consumers and create new products (or tweak existing ones) for the market. Lego, for instance, launched a new line of toys thanks to a social media contest. Crowd sourcing can also be used to listen to internal voices as well.
  • Knowledge management. Through social media, many CFOs are distributing “best practices” such as accounting standards and policies to their teams. This enhances internal communication and collaboration efforts.