10 ⁄ 18 2016
- A strong social media presence increases personal and company visibility and credibility
- Executives and subject matter experts spread their influence via social media
- Building a personal digital footprint is manageable with planning and organization
Executives who have embraced the world of social media have enjoyed increased recognition both within their companies and throughout their industries. In the past, the only vehicles corporate leaders had at their disposal to spread their messages were internal communications and the occasional media interview; but social media has transformed the landscape, making the high visibility as simple and attainable as a launching a Twitter campaign.
Whether you are running a boutique service company or a billion-dollar subsidiary of a Fortune 100 firm, the myriad benefits of social media are just a few clicks away.
If you are searching for compelling reasons why you should be active on social media, consider these points:
Supporting the Message:
While branded corporate campaigns on social media are effective as a marketing tool, executives can bolster the company’s messaging and promotions through personal campaigns on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks. Among the social media community, companies are generally regarded as cold, impersonal entities – without feeling or personality. And while hot brands and viral campaigns can spark shares and clicks, corporations often find it challenging to make meaningful connections with consumers.
But when executives join in the mix, they can put a face to the brand. This can be especially significant, as people want to connect with other people, not companies. The personal touch that executives bring to social media can mean the difference between a generic promotion and an engaging, interactive presence.
When several top executives play an active role in promoting the company’s messaging and campaigns, the power of numbers starts to kick in. A well-orchestrated campaign between the company and its leaders can increase engagement exponentially. And, when the rest of the organization sees the example being set by the head honchos, they are more likely to follow suit and voluntarily participate in content sharing.
Imagine how powerful it would be to have an entire army of executives and employees tweeting, posting, pinning, and gramming away, trumpeting the company’s latest product, initiative, or promotion. Not only will the company’s core message and vision resonate loud and clear, but the underlying corporate culture and tone comes through as well. The fact that all levels of the company are working together to achieve a common goal will not be unnoticed on social media. The unified effort will portray your company as a cohesive, collaborative, team-oriented organization. And it all starts from the top; when executives embrace social media, so follows the rest of the company.
Expanding Thought Leadership Status:
If executives are reluctant to dive into social media for the sake of the company, then they should consider doing it for themselves. Leaders who have identities or aspirations that extend beyond their roles in their companies can use social media to reach these objectives. Through strategic content development and consistent posting, executives can effectively spread their visions or missions to the industry or the public in general.
While executives are likely to be well-known among the top leadership within their companies, chances are that the rank and file has only heard their names. Actively participating on LinkedIn or Twitter breaks down communication barriers and makes executives accessible to every individual in the company. When executives publish content on a social network, employees have the opportunity to get noticed by liking, sharing, and making insightful comments on their posts.
Also, building a strong following and generating engagement on social media can help executives shape and further their own thought leadership status, separate from their company affiliations. The “views expressed are my own” disclaimer on many executives’ social media profiles is an indication that the content provided may go beyond company-approved posts, and will focus on the individual’s opinions, philosophies, strategies, and insights. This is where executives can break away from their corporate identities and carve out their own unique voices.
Executives who position themselves prominently on social media also are in a stronger position to pursue strategic alliances, generate media attention, secure speaking opportunities, and spread their sphere of influence.
A strong social media presence is an asset that stays with you beyond your current role, and needs to be cultivated, nurtured, and managed to maintain its value in the long-term. With each passing month, your following increases, your message spreads, and your visibility expands.
It’s Easier Than You Think:
Some executives shy away from social media because they think that building a presence is too daunting and time-consuming. And that’s understandable: When you think about opening accounts, writing profiles, posting content, and building followings on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, and Facebook, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
The good news is that getting started is as easy as registering an account with Twitter, coming up with your user name, and creating a brief summary (160 characters max; usually around 30 words). Once your account is opened, you are ready to tweet. There’s no need to jump onto all of the networks at once; building a presence on social media is a gradual process. After some experimentation, you will learn which networks feel right to you, and which ones you can avoid.
If you start now, in a year, you will look back and be amazed at how much progress you have made. After just a few weeks of tweeting, you’ll start to feel like a pro – ready to tackle LinkedIn or Instagram.
Another option is to work with a professional social media management company to facilitate your progress on social media. Agencies like ours work with executives across all industries to build their accounts, write their profiles, and create content – in their voice and aligned with their brand. When appropriate, we also work with their companies’ marketing team to ensure the messaging aligns with company goals and promotions.
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