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A (cyber) space odyssey

FDs still need convincing of the benefits of social media

Five percent isn’t usually a figure that gets pulses racing. But when the results of our social media survey came back saying that five percent of FDs had seen a tangible return on investment in the time they spent using social media networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for professional reasons, I thought that was news.

I’ve long sympathised with readers of this magazine who think themselves outside that world. I’m a total Luddite and can tell you that I fought a management decision at FD Towers to launch a Twitter account for the magazine (I lost). From what I had seen, tweeting was no more than a bunch of marketeers beating their chests at one another.

I don’t mind my Facebook account, but find the number of unsolicited friend requests I get from teenagers irritating and creepy; I never looked at my Plaxo profile again after setting it up. But I can’t deny that our magazine’s own LinkedIn group has been an incredible success: a handful more FDs join every day and the number of meaty discussions they start and get involved in convinces me there’s really something in it – and it’s free, so it’s a no brainer way to draw people in to our brand.

FDs still need convincing though. In the same breath as telling us they’ve found work through social media sites and that they rely on them to research rival companies and prospective finance employees, FDs remain deeply sceptical about the value of social media for business. They form a loud chorus of disapproval – saying it is nothing more than a narcissistic, intrusive, dangerous waste of time for the underworked. The numbers diverge from the narrative.

Clearly, there’s more discussion to be had about it. Or should Financial Director host a tweet-off about the pros and cons?


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