There are still many CEOs out there who are skeptical of having their own social media presence. After all, CEOs are short on time and are unsure of the benefits of executive participation in social media. They might feel there is too much risk involved, or they may think social is atypical of executives in their industry. However, 83% of people believe that CEO’s who actively participate in social media can build better connections with employees, investors, and customers. Still, just 30% of Fortune 500 CEOs are using social media.
Getting an executive to become active in social media can help a company project a human image to the public. Socially active executives create a channel for authentic engagement and can increase consumer trust.
When an executive has overcome her misgivings and has decided to embark on the social media journey, here’s how to make sure its a worthwhile investment of time for both the subject and the brand.
1. Develop the executive’s story
Starting a social media account and strategy for a CEO is quite similar to starting work with a client. At the outset, it’s important to concentrate on the story the individual wants to tell. The message should be aligned with what’s happening within the “brand” of the company. Come to an agreement with the subject on his/her voice and tone and don’t let brand messages or key points interfere with the executive’s authentic presentation of herself.
2. Inform the content
There are four areas to concentrate on when developing content for an executive’s social media page.
Ensure all content is on-brand and from the executive’s point of view.
Keep tabs on the content that’s in demand—content which other executives, industry influencers, and consumers are commenting on.
Before disseminating, find the optimal content medium—is this a tweet, post, video, infographic, etc.— and what platform is best to post on.
Lastly, target the content and align it with the brand’s overall activity and content calendar.
3. Create and publish the content
Once there’s a comfort level with the landscape, it’s time to create and publish the content. This can best be described in a five-step process:
Learn: Perform ongoing social listening and research to understand trends and content that’s in demand
Create: Create content informed by the research; determine the creative elements needed, and whether the content will be original, shared from another source, etc. It’s best if the executive creates and writes the content, but this isn’t always possible considering the time demands of management. While ghost-writing is a great option, don’t let the program drift too far from the executive himself. That’s the road to inauthenticity.
Target: When and where the content should be published; content should be in lockstep with other brand/company initiatives, events, and priorities.
Engage: After the team or CEO publishes the content, support with other social arms of the company on various social channels
Measure: Track content and and provide ongoing measurement; seeing successes and failures will help inform content strategy and creation in the future
4. Paid amplification
Paid amplification isn’t for everyone, but it can be effective. Promoting the executive’s account or individual tweets can help pile on the followers in a hurry. On LinkedIn, sponsored updates targeted to a niche audience can increase visibility, as can using sponsored guest posts on the company or brand’s Facebook page. Regardless, paid amplification should always be aligned with a broader campaign.
There’s no doubt that creating a successful social media presence for a CEO is a tricky task. With so little time on their hands, the executive will need a well-prepared support team behind him, experts who know the ins and outs of social media and its various platforms, so that the content makes an impact. However, the subject’s personality must show through. Rigidity, absence of personality, or obvious ghost-writing could breed inauthenticity, which will be sniffed out by the ever-savvy public. But done right, a strong, positive social media presence from a CEO will help promote the voice of the brand itself.