Why CEOs should use Social Media and how

Would you say you are a ‘Social CEO?’, and by that, we mean: are you active on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? If the answer is no, then it’s time to consider being one.

Thanks to ever-advancing technology, we have more ways to communicate and gather information than ever before. Social Media continues to play an increasingly important role in how we communicate and share company news and information, it also provides opportunities for career advancement as well as staying in touch with what’s happening, listening to what people are saying, and making strategic decisions that benefit the company.

No, it’s not just about reposting silly memes or overbearing followers with selfies and self-promotion.

In this post we’ll run through the benefits of social media to the CEO, what platforms they should use and the best types of posts – to maintain a healthy relationship with the platform itself, as well as your avid followers.

Why CEOs should be on social media

The benefits of social media for CEOs and executives go beyond personal branding. Below are some benefits for the company and the workforce of having a social CEO:

Business Transparency

Transparency in business is critical in order to build trust and can be measured by the degree to which corporate activities are observable by the public. So ask yourself, how publicly observable have your activities been to date? Not much? Then their may already be trust issues within your organisation.

Now consider what information your company does share on Social Media and consider the online world we live in today.

People find it hard to believe what others say online with so much fake news, cue Donald Trump – and self-proclaimed experts and VIPs. People have become more and more cynical and distrustful, and more often than not question what companies are pitching before taking it at face value.

That’s a sorry mess we find ourselves in, so short into the internet age.

But there is a way to combat this distrust: trough social media. It is one of the most transparent and accessible forms of communication with clients, employees, stakeholders and the general public.

It is a vehicle by which the social CEO can use to help protect – and elevate – the public’s perception of the company or brand.

There is a strong correlation between transparency and customer loyalty; this takes us to the next point.

Increase trust and loyalty

A social CEO and executives who connect with the public through their own posts or by monitoring and responding to consumer interactions are shown to manage businesses that have higher customer retention rates and loyalty scores.

Customers form a link with the social CEO, with surveys finding that “four in ten people are more willing to give them a second chance after unpleasant encounters and 85% are more likely to continue working with them amid crises.”

Nothing creates goodwill better than when hearing directly from the CEO on social media, right? Think of Apple, and whenever Tim Cook has provided clarity on a situation via a personal post on LinkedIn and Twitter. Apple came through unharmed in the example of an FBI case back in 2016, where Apple refused to unlock an iPhone that could have held critical evidence to aid a legal proceeding. For Apple, this went against their principals, but it was only when Tim Cook addressed the reasoning in a personal post, did the wider world fully understand and empathise with the company’s rationale.

Gain insights directly from the field

The CEOs who do not use social media are not only losing out on opportunities to harbour connections with customers and build trust, they’re also missing out on the opportunity to gain access to reliable insights and information.

As the social CEO becomes engaged – with customers and the industry as a whole – sooner or later he/she will discover find these gems:

– the needs and wants of the target market
– a better understanding of consumer trends
– the consumer satisfaction levels of the products/services
– a peek at your competitors’ activities
– the effectiveness of your team’s marketing efforts

Such CEO first-hand information helps the company:

– fine tune its offerings
– develop strategies that better resonate with customers’ interests and preferences
– determine future business decisions
– new product development and;
– re-align company direction

Boost your company’s visibility

Social media can be an extremely powerful tool in the hands of a CEO.

According to Hootsuite and LinkedIn’s white paper on social executives, compared to other content posts, executives get:

– 10.8x more engagement on long form posts
– 7.4x shares of content published
– 14x more engagement on content shared
– 8.5x more views on long form posts

Also, many research papers have shown that CEOs who have a presence on Social Media have a higher likelihood of being followed by people in their industries.

Humanise your company

Brands and companies are trying harder than ever to become more human, transparent and trusted, to build a stronger, longer relationship and to connect with their current and prospective customer.

People want to feel like they know the person behind the brand, to understand them as individuals and to gain insight into the direction and motivations that drive the business forwards. Before now, this could only be achieved in-part through newspaper clippings. Today, this is achieved in-full via Social Media.

Which social networks should CEOs use?

– LinkedIn is the most popular platform for corporate CEOs. It is a business-focused network. Executives use LinkedIn to showcase their professional and company achievements and stay in touch with industry leaders.

– Twitter is the second choice for social CEOs. It is easy to set up and social CEOs can get direct response and real-time engagement with customers, fellow CEOs, industry leaders and prospects.

– Facebook isn’t just a place for people to post about their lives. It is a place for CEO and senior executives to post about their company and how they can help their customers. Also, let’s not forget that Facebook is the top social media platform in the UK and the U.S. So, although it is not LinkedIn, the CEOs are most likely also using it to connect with their friends and families. They are humans, after all.

Ultimately, the choice of platform is up to you. Select a social platform that best fits your company’s goals, personality, and other business priorities.

The best types of social media posts for the CEO

Traditional methods of communication such as emailing, phone calls, in-person meetings etc. require additional effort on behalf of both parties involved. The power of social media lies in its simplicity: You post a meaningful content, someone else sees it, likes it, shares it, comments on it, responds to it, and then you get direct and in most cases, immediate feedback. That simple cycle creates a powerful connection between two individuals.

But what exactly should the CEO share on social media?

Should a CEO talk about their latest company news about the business? What about their personal life? What should a CEO do to take advantage of their position and help grow the company’s reach?

The vortex of the social media strategy of a social CEO and senior executives is to provide social currency. It should answer these questions:

Engaging: Does it encourage conversation?
Relatable: Does it demonstrate shared values?
Helpful: Does it offer utility?
Empowering: Does it motivate your audience (e.g. CEOs, employees, customers)?

Regardless of who is posting on the social networks, whether it’s the CEO – or the in-house marketing team, or an outsourced social media agency – the post should look and feel authentic and personal.