Members of the C-suite (e.g., CEO, CFO, CIO, CMO, etc.) have a lot on their plates. The success and growth of the company fall on their shoulders. Employees look to them for leadership and direction. The Board looks to them for bottom line results. Should the C-suite be on social media?
For me, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
All within limits, of course. C-suite executives excel at managing priorities. While running the business comes first, a smart approach to social media can pay strong dividends. How should a C-suite leader be thinking about social media?
For me, it’s about four P’s.
Determine the purpose and goals of your social media presence. Possibilities include:
- Sharing news about your company
- Growing and nurturing your personal brand
- Supporting causes that you believe in
- Highlighting the accomplishments of your employees
- Building stronger relationships with industry peers
The answer can’t be “yes, all of the above.” Instead, focus on a few things and do them well. If you try to be all things to all people on social media, your presence (and message) becomes muddled and diluted.
Margaret Molloy (@MargaretMolloy on Twitter), CMO at Siegel+Gale, a global strategic branding firm, does a great job representing her company on social, while building her own professional brand.
Here’s a sample tweet from Margaret, promoting an upcoming event she’s speaking at:
Meet Ronan Dunne EVP & CEO of Verizon Consumer Group ahead of the @TheMarketingSoc Bravest Conference. I'm pleased to host in NYC on Oct 10 https://t.co/N6v0nqtKv3 @RonanDunneVZ #braveleaders @verizon pic.twitter.com/veiw2lrZcT
— Margaret Molloy (@MargaretMolloy) September 23, 2019
In research that we conducted with PureMatter, analyzing the Twitter behavior of influencers, we discovered three personas — each persona had a distinct engagement style:
- Conversationalists focus on engagement and are most likely to mention others
- Amplifiers focus on topics and are most likely to share links and retweet others
- Brand Champions are focused on sharing the brand’s content
For a consistent presence on social media, determine the persona that represents you the best, then stick an engagement style matching that persona.
Here’s the research we conducted with PureMatter:
Social media is a great platform for showing what your passionate about.
For Brand Champions, your passion is your work. And that’s fine! Sharing content about employee hires, partnerships and product launches reinforces the exciting things happening at your company. Being named number one in the “Best Places to Work” deserves a tweet or a post.
Other C-suite executives may want to feature their personal interests on social media. This approach shows the personal side to a brand’s leadership and can make the brand more approachable and appealing. You can show your support for causes important to you or give high fives when your favorite sports team wins a game.
John Legere (@JohnLegere on Twitter), CEO of T-Mobile, has a highly engaging presence on social media. John shares several of his passions, including food and cooking.
Here’s a video that John broadcast via Twitter/Periscope:
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) September 22, 2019
And now for a practical consideration: what platforms should you be active on?
Important advice: YOU DON’T NEED TO BE ON EVERY PLATFORM.
To start with, avoid Snapchat. You’re already on LinkedIn, so one approach is simply to become more active on that platform, with a consistent schedule of a few posts per week. Remember to have your self-identified persona (e.g., Conversationalist, Amplifier, Brand Champion) guide your engagement style there.
In addition to the main social platforms of LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, consider sites like Quora, where you could find and answer a few questions per week or per month.
Practice makes perfect
As CEO of a digital marketing agency, I encourage employees to build their personal brands using social media. I’d be a hypocrite, however, if I wasn’t active on social media myself. I use social media daily and learn something new all the time.