Social media has gone from dorm room toy to boardroom tool yet CEOs and Social Media remain an unlikely pair. A recent study shows that only 18% of the world’s largest company CEOs have social network pages.
Often senior management fails to recognize social media’s real value is its source of insight and a means of collaboration. The fear of negative responses and feedback should not over-power the meaningful insights a company can gain. Their participation need not be daily or tedious. It should be well thought out and relevant with enough frequency to satisfy an organization’s online community.
Why is it important for senior management, including CEOs to engage in Social Media?
Engagement: Users want to see that a CEO is engaged. This oftentimes means that CEO enjoys being around customers and clients. Both internally and externally management seems more approachable and sociable.
Education: Clients want a CEO to know what he/she is talking about. Social media is a great way for him/her to show expertise. Customers have more confidence in a company when they believe the CEO is an industry expert.
Inside Information: “Exclusive insider” content which comes from senior management tends to foster customer loyalty and engagement. Such “news” is no longer a rumor and carries more weight, clients pay more attention to it.
Corporate Culture: A CEO/Senior Management can share with the social community some of the things that really make that company great. Senior managers are the ones who know who and how each department is operating, so if there is an opportunity for praise social media is a great place to share. This says plenty about the organization’s corporate culture.
Partnerships: Sometimes partnerships can spring up and be foster from social media, and this is more likely if senior management and decision makers are involved. Social media experts don’t always know what makes a good partnership and what doesn’t so an engaged CEO/ senior executive might be able to spot something (or get spotted).
Sales: Social media is absolutely about sales and revenues. Think of it as a sales funnel at the top is brand awareness, then lead generation and then conversion. At the conversion stage engagement is even more important than ever before by providing useful information and value to the prospect. In the sales funnel it’s become increasingly possible to gain customer insights in real time – that’s so much more valuable than sending out a survey to understand your ideal customers.
All organizations need to realize that regardless of industry, eventually all customers will be digital natives who regularly utilize the internet to make purchasing decisions. Social business is no longer optional. If your business is not a participant, it will become increasingly difficult to be relevant in the future. Done correctly, senior management’s participation can be competitively advantageous for their organizations.