Everyone today is on social media, but there is one group that is sorely under-represented: CEOs.
“We frequently get asked by our CEO clients how they should use social media,” says Sylvia Schutte, MD of Stratitude. “So it’s not that they undervalue the importance of it, they just aren’t sure how to use it to their advantage.”
Numerous studies have shown that when a CEO uses social media positively, it has a positive impact on the reputation of their company, attracts talent to the business and even impacts the bottom line with an increase in sales. CEOs who are active on social media also become more relatable and connect more with their employees, peers and customers.
“One of the biggest excuses we get from senior executives is that they simply don’t have the time to be active on social media,” says Schutte.
To keep pages fresh and to prevent connections from getting bored, Schutte recommends that opinion pieces are posted onto the company blog and then shared on personal pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, CEOs should share online articles and information that they find interesting, and then include their opinion on the issue.
“Privacy is another big concern,” continues Schutte. “People do business with people they know, like and trust, which is why we recommend setting your LinkedIn profile to be open to the public, rather than keeping it private. If people are looking for you on LinkedIn it’s because they want to find out as much information as possible, to see if they can trust your company and engage in business with you.”
The more information you provide about your professional background, who you are, and what you stand for, the stronger your credentials will be and the more trustworthy you will come across to potential clients, employees, suppliers, stakeholders and business partners.
“It’s essential that you pay attention to the language you use, which means you don’t craft every tweet or post as an MBA graduate. To come across as relatable you need to use conversational, everyday language. The key is also to make it personal, so feel free to share things like places you enjoy visiting, books you recommend reading, or ideas that excite you,” explains Schutte. “These things might not be related to you as a professional, but they say a lot about who you are and they help you connect with clients, prospects and colleagues in a more authentic, human way.”
When it comes to maintaining a social media presence, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. It’s not uncommon to have a team assisting a leader to keep their social media feeds populated. However, to get this right you first have to understand the objectives and brand that the leader wants to portray.
“Posts should be real and honest,” says Schutte. “We work with leaders to define their personal brand and what they want to project on social media. We then craft content that’s in line with their thinking and personality, but ultimately they should be the ones that are in tune with their social media accounts, respond when talked to and pass along content shared by others.”
In an increasingly social business world, it’s clear that CEOs should do more than just be on social media – they should lead the pack.