Should your company’s C-Suite executives be using social media? Even if they should be, chances are they’re not—according to research published in 2016 from CEO.com and Domo, 60 per cent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever.
Whether or not the company brass should be publicly active on social networks depends largely on who they are as a person and how they want to be perceived within the company and the industry. Do they want to appear more relatable and connect more genuinely with employees and colleagues? Conversely, executives may harm the brand if their social media is done poorly. Just look at United Airline’s Oscar Munoz’ response to the controversy around their forced removal of a passenger earlier this year.
To give you an idea of the pros and the cons, we broke down the simple reasons for and against your company’s leaders engaging on social media.
Reasons for getting your company leaders on social:
• Shaping brand views: any executives on social media will serve as an extension of the company and their social media posts coming from the top will support the larger marketing activities. This can help the brand appear more accessible to a larger audience.
• Being approachable to employees: any efforts to be more accessible to outside audiences are applicable within the company itself. When employees are engaged on social media with their leaders they’re likely more satisfied in their job which will lead to less turnover.
• Improving relationships with customers and stakeholders: active execs help show the public and future customers how much the organization values customer experience. CEOs engaging with real people on social media can enhance brand opinions and loyalty.
• Talent recruitment: being adept on social emphasizes a CEO’s know-how with technology. Organizations searching for recruits who are invested in tech-friendly companies may value a CEO who keeps a strong social media presence.
• Keeping abreast of company or industry issues: social media allows CEOs to proactively monitor and participate in the relevant discussions that arise in regards to their company or industry. This can help company leadership react quickly to key industry developments.
On the other side, basic arguments against CEOs embracing social include:
• It may be too time consuming: sometimes time is a CEO’s most valuable commodity and forcing social media on them can take their attention away from more relevant pieces of business.
• It could be inauthentic: it’s not uncommon for executives to let their PR or communications teams run their accounts. While they’re most likely approving the posts, the words may not feel genuine which largely defeats the purpose of a personal social media account.
• The risk factor: if they are running their own accounts, giving a CEO free rein of their can be risky if they’re known for contentious or provocative commentary.
• It could harm internal productivity: if company leadership is seen as proactively social it may encourage employees to spend more time than necessary socializing online leading to decreased productivity.
However, if your company execs see the value in social media, launching them on it is a multi-step process. Approach it like any other social media campaign—establish goals and objectives, set benchmarks and most importantly, figure out the personality they want to project to the world.
Above all the brand humanizing, thought leadership and company updates from the top, their personal brands should shine through on whatever they put out.
If you need help navigating the Social Media landscape, we can work with you in confidence to improve your online presence.
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