Make A Difference

Only CEO’s Need Apply

Omg, what are you thinking? I’m sure that’s what most people are saying, when you discuss/promote CEO’s joining social networks. But, if you want to get an edge and lead the pack, then you need to understand why it’s important to join social media as a CEO.

I recently read on Econsultancy about a User Experience Survey report in regards to what users do. Here’s an interesting excerpt I wanted to share

“Companies are enthusiastic about providing a quality user experience, but are yet to achieve best practice in testing and improvements

Although user experience is not a new topic within digital marketing and web design, the survey reveals a growing appetite for improving UX across digital assets, particularly as consumers embrace more digital touchpoints.

  • Nearly eight out of 10 (78%) client-side respondents stated that their company was ‘extremely’ or ‘quite’ committed to delivering the best online user experience.
  • In addition, 95% agreed with the statement that ‘good user  experience just makes sense’.
  • 93% believe that ‘optimising the user experience will improve conversions’.
  • Qualitative responses confirmed these results; when asked why their company was committed to user experience, a major theme emerging was that a good user experience leads to “customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and increased sales”.
  • However, when asked about the quality of the user experience on their own digital properties, only a minority of respondents (44%) rate their own companies’ performance in this area as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.”

As you can see it’s not just me saying this but, your brand, message and culture have to be humanized. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire amazing branding strategist to connect the dots. What most consultants don’t encourage or recommend is for the CEO to join the social conversation. Sure the arguments are all valid, either pro or con. But today I will give you the pros and some tips on what you, as the CEO, can focus on.

Being authentic is what your consumers are looking for. How can you reach that level of comfort unless you make a commitment to your audience? The first thing most CEOs look at is ROI and data. That’s their job. They have to keep the board members happy, investors happy and most importantly, their buyers and employees happy. That’s not to say that’s what most CEO’s do – they don’t want to be involved. Either they don’t have the time or are afraid, perhaps rightly so.

Reasons why a CEO Shouldn’t join a Social network

  1. What’s the value if I don’t “get” Social media
  2. Maybe you’re shy or you have a reserved personality
  3. The fear factor is very valid and it’s fine to be afraid
  4. I know ROI is an important fact and if you can’t see an ROI then what’s the use, right? Wrong!
  5. A waste of time since you are probably thinking people don’t want to know I just had lunch
  6. The company brand may suffer
  7. Last but not least, security issues are a huge deterrent for CEO’s

But if you’re a CEO, I can counter every one of those points above with a reason why you should.

Reasons why a CEO Should Join a Social Networks

  1. It’s not about you, it’s about your company
  2. What better time to get out there and show your authentic self
  3. How did you get where you are today by being fearful or hesitant. Suck it up and lead
  4. If the campaign has been created with social media in mind, then I can show you how to measure that ROI
  5. You don’t tell them about your lunch, you share with them the best place to have lunch
  6. Not if you create a raison d’être, that connection
  7. You can set security in place before diving in. Figure out what you don’t want people to know and make sure you have company standards in place to deal with them.

When you consider it only takes four steps to embrace Social without any repercussions, then why wouldn’t you consider this for your 2014 campaign? First thing, please surround yourself with people that understand the value of social media. Maybe your VP of marketing or your brand strategist can lay out a road map to a social media culture only your company can create.

Do your Homework

Research. That’s right – just like any successful campaign, one must do their research. I don’t mean sit on a social network but actually gather data from your locations. If you have a brick & mortar, then show up. Yeah, that means rolling up your sleeves and going into the trenches. The people buying your products, including your employees, will love it. They want to see you wearing that hardhat or apron, or God forbid, sitting in the dinning room having lunch with them. Would it surprise you to know that most CEO’s have no idea what’s happening in their stores? They take the regional managers word that these numbers make sense. Not to say they don’t, but make sure the numbers are making sense. It will endear your foot soldiers when they know you give a damn.

It’s almost like that show Undercover Boss. That show was successful because it showed not only the CEO being put in an uncomfortable situation, but it endeared their employees once they discovered the guy they were in the trenches with was the CEO.

Once you are ready, make sure the accounts you create are used by you. Period. Do not allow an intern, administrative assistant, or your cousin to drive the feed. That’s not to say you can’t, but make sure they know what your visions are. I mean write them out. For example our goal is to create a company culture that our buyers and employees can embrace.  So how do you do that? One way is to take a video camera and go around your shops asking one question. It can be anything that has to do with your product, message or beta product. Make sure the video is of high quality and will resonate with your viewers. One you’ve sliced, diced, and added all the bells and whistles, then promote it. Have your employees share it, put it on your Facebook page, Pinterest or Twitter, depending on what Social Network you intend to use.

Look at Data

While I understand that as a CEO, you are looking for that ROI, by all means, make sure you have KPI’s set in order to measure your efforts.

I’ve worked in chain restaurants and I know numbers exist. There were so many forms with triplicates that I couldn’t understand why so many copies were needed. Therefore, with that in mind, look at your numbers in order to familiarise yourself with what you need to know. Find out who your customers are. Some KPI’s that would make sense are not likes, or RT’s but click-throughs to the pages of your website; users, readers and employees actually watching a welcome video you posted on YouTube; having a conversation on an article you wrote; asking you a question on Twitter. Once you set these with specific actions, then you can measure the success of your efforts.

Be Authentic

Reach out to your people and ask them what you can do to encourage more or less from your work force? If you have a mailing list, then dive in. Write a post about your new experiment, about what you are trying to do. The beauty here is you can keep the list private, or your social network feed private until you feel comfortable using that particular network.  One suggestion is to curate a specific topic that’s relevant to your business. This will not only enlighten you to what and how people are using, reacting to and sharing your specific line or products/services but, it will also give you an understanding of what truly matters to your users/buyers.

It’s the Message Not the Network

On thing I must emphasise when you start creating the steps for a social campaign, don’t worry about the channels or networks to use but the message. You can agree on the networks after you’ve gathered the data.

That’s why it’s important to understand and discuss this with your social media consultant/strategists. They will tell you the most important thing you can do is listen. That’s something that most social media strategists worth their salt will teach you, social is never a one-sided affair. You have to listen to what people are saying. Know when to respond and when to share the message.  Nowadays, with so many social media fails, I can only imagine the trepidations CEO’s must feel. As long as you’re not out in left field people, will forgive a faux pas. It’s not uncommon, but don’t dwell on it.

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2 Responses

  1. I think a lot of CEO’s from traditional companies could learn a lot from the younger CEO’s from some of our tech companies on the use of social media. Just look at the following that Dick Costolo (Twitter) or Mark Z (Facebook) or Larry Page (Google) have and the information they send out.

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