The C-Class has long been hiding behind closed doors, protected by administrative assistants (a.k.a gate-keepers), with legal teams to censor, and PR teams to sugar coat the message. This “old school” mentality is no longer sustainable and social media is here to help. The social media conversation among the C-Class is commonly about risks and damages, and it has been dismissed as viable way to improve brand awareness, credibility, and effectively communicate with customers.
According to the recent 2013 CEO, Social Media and Leadership survey by BRANDfog, 80.4% of survey respondents said it was important for CEOs to engage with customers on social channels and over half said that they believe social media engagement makes CEOs more effective leaders.
It’s undeniable that social media has broken many barriers in the way we do business, and customer expectations have changed. We now want to “connect” with brands on the human level, not hear their carefully crafted marketing message.
CEOs that remain behind closed doors are not taking advantage of the vast opportunities to grow their business. The role of the CEO on social media not only supports a brand’s human side, but it helps establish their personal authority and expertise.
There are CEOs—albeit a few—leading the charge in breaking down barriers, and those that have are successfully bringing their business into the age of social.
I’m challenging you—if you’re a leader of a business, unbolt your doors and open your windows because it’s time to invite company! Leverage your strengths and get started now. It doesn’t have to be a time suck—you can do a lot with 15 minutes per day. You should always start small, and here are few tips to get you started:
- Open up your personal Facebook profile, and turn on the “subscribe” feature. You can still maintain some privacy, because with each post you can control whether the public or only your friends can see it. Just remember to never post anything—even to your friends—unless you’re comfortable with it being on the front page of a newspaper. Post photos that give people an inside peek into your business, of you with your employees having fun at work, at fundraisers or social events. Post the small but special things that make your job awesome. You are a likable person, so show it, and people will gravitate towards you. You are the most human connection people will have with your company.
- Consider using Twitter. Twitter is one of the best tools for conversation—it’s designed for it. There’s nothing more valuable for customer experience than having an accessible CEO on Twitter. Include the company handle in your bio to make the connection. What if people tweet you with complaints? In some cases it’s appropriate to instruct them to tweet the business handle. Your employees will most likely be better equipped to handle specific issues anyway. But, I highly recommend taking on some of the inquries yourself—there’s nothing like a CEO who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty.
- Use LinkedIn. Having a LinkedIn profile is standard in the business world, but LinkedIn is also great option to have high-level conversations. LinkedIn Groups are where many leaders are leading conversations surrounding their industries, contributing to their authority and establishing their expertise.
Bottom line, don’t be scared of social media! If you’re a CEO, CFO, or any business leader, you’re already in a high profile position so it’s better to leverage and embrace the opportunities than to let them pass you by.
If you’re trying to convince your boss of the potential of social media, here is a great article to refer to:
10 business cases for CEOs to use social media on Communications Conversations by Ark Hanson