CEOs need to take some important advice from Sir Richard Branson, who says, “Embracing social media isn’t just a bit of fun, it’s a vital way to communicate, keep your ear to the ground and improve your business.” Social savvy CEOs surpass the digital-dismissers in several key areas:
Making Connections and Building Trust
Business is a human endeavor. Social media provides the most effective, efficient vehicle for CEOs to create emotional connections and build relationships with the right people. Several recent studies reveal the impact of social CEOs on stakeholders. One study conducted by LinkedIn and Altimeter showed that 76% of executives say they would rather work for a social CEO. A recent Weber Shandwick study backed this up: 80% of employees say they would rather work for a social CEO, and two thirds of customers say that their perception of the CEO impacts their perception of the company.
A 2014 study of social CEOs conducted by BRANDfog confirmed that social media use contributes to building trust. null
Building a Culture
Today’s CEO needs to be connected to all human assets at all levels of the organization. To build a social organization that taps the potential of every brand ambassador, the CEO must be willing to take the lead. Social media silence speaks volumes.
Ekaterina Walter, social media trailblazer and bestselling author of Think Like Zuck, says, “Great companies know that empowering their internal passionate advocates, their employees, to become the company’s spokespeople is fostering the greatest form of brand advocacy and brand-bonding. When I was at Intel we activated the internal brand love by educating our employees and allowing them to not only talk about their passion towards technology, but to engage our customers and build relationships with them.
And if some of Intel’s employees became the source of expertise and industry thought-leaders who talked about the work they were passionate about and helped establish industry benchmarking, Intel saw this as a great opportunity to tell the company’s story.”
Innovation is vital to success. In today’s world of constant, accelerating change, if you aren’t innovating, you’re not just standing still, you’re falling behind. There are many ways to demonstrate innovation, but it’s not just about the products you sell and the ways you sell and market them. One of the most effective paths is through the creative and consistent use of social media. That means building a social savvy organization and it means taking the lead.
Many leaders say building a social organization is essential to innovation, but it appears that they don’t really mean it. According to the Altimeter Group survey of digital strategists, 62% of companies have no social media education program.
Social CEOs have a phenomenal advantage over their analog-only communicators. In fewer than 60 seconds, they can amplify their message, expand their audience and reinforce their point of view.
The previously mentioned BRANDfog study also revealed that 77% of US respondents and 68% of UK respondents believe that social media is a powerful tool for building thought leadership and enhancing the credibility of C-Suite executives with stakeholders – including the press.
This PR factor is especially significant. The web is where the press goes to find content and sources for articles. In 2014, ING published a Social Media Impact survey that queried an international group of journalists and PR professionals. The survey shows that dialogue on social media is gaining importance in the world of press coverage. null
Jack Welsh, Meg Whitman, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon, Arianna Huffington, Sir Martin Sorrell and Jeff Immelt are all LinkedIn Influencers. Each one posts content regularly and has hundreds of thousands of followers. Shouldn’t you be a part of that club? As CEO, your job is to be visible and engaged. You are the face of the organization. What you say has a lot of weight internally and in the marketplace. Where you say it says something about your personal brand and your organization.
Although CEOs are gradually joining the social media bandwagon, it remains an opportunity to stand out from top-level peers. A study conducted last year by CEO.com and DOMO revealed that null Their loss is an easy gain for social savvy CEOs.
Would you rather be a reluctant relic or a relevant pioneer?
If you have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the social media revolution to end, take some advice from Warren Buffet, who once tweeted, “Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Mr. Buffet has almost a million Twitter followers.
Are the leaders in your company using social media? Let me know in the comments field.
Follow me on Twitter and check out my latest book, Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.