Top chief executives aren’t the most social group, according to a study 70% of CEOs indicating they engage on only one social network, LinkedIn, and a report from CEO.com found that 61 percent of CEOs have no social presence at all. This is surprising considering that 76 percent of all executives believe it’s a good idea for CEOs to be on social media. So what’s stopping CEOs and social media from forging a partnership? The reasons are the same as they have always been; they’re too busy, it’s hard to manage ROI, and somewhat surprisingly many CEOs don’t actually know how to get value out of the platforms, even though the power of social media continues to grow. Interestingly President Barack Obama made social media a priority when he launched the first presidential Twitter account despite security risks and the time constraints of the role, therefore it may be time for CEOs to take a look, too.
Whilst CEOs are shying away, consumers are continuing to head in the opposite direction with over two billion people globally on social media and the average user spending almost two hours a day on a social platform. In an increasingly social world, CEOs clearly need to do more than just be on social—they need to lead their company’s social strategy.
CEOs and social media benefits
Effective social media analysis can provide real time insights
When used effectively social media can be a global broadcast channel, a source of consumer and competitor insight, and a PR tool. Social media provides CEOs a direct view of their customers in real time with minimal time and effort. A few moments looking through a social media stream, and CEOs can have their finger on the pulse of their customers.
CEOs can build trust through social media
Today, building trust with customers and employees requires presenting a humanised brand. Social media presents the most powerful way for CEOs to do this, proficiently to the masses. In less than 140 characters, CEOs can easily personalise their brand and show there is someone real at the forefront of the company watching out for their interests. These exchanges will most likely be viewed by news outlets as well as customers and show evidence of progressive leadership.
These communications can have a positive impact on the internal business as well. Approximately 70% of senior professionals report that when CEOs post via social media it increases the appeal of the company as a workplace. Social media is seen as a tool which facilitates open lines of communication with staff and can compress the idea of corporate hierarchies which can inhibit exchanges between frontline employees and senior management.
Social media can reach further than one-to-one communications, it is an infinitely scalable platform for reaching mass audiences. When CEOs post about product updates, company news etc., they post with additional authority and gravitas, meaning your message will reach more people.
CEOs and social media as a commercial driver
However, the biggest drive for CEOs to invest in social media may shortly be necessity. Social media signifies a cultural shift and it’s a prominent tool in the workplace, with further growth predicted. McKinsey estimate that $1.3 trillion stands to be unlocked by businesses who implement social strategies in the coming years throughout their business —not just in marketing, but in sales, customer service, and as a form of internal communication.
It’s difficult for some companies to form a social strategy without the support of their CEO to guide and lead this transformation for their employees.
How can CEOs find the time to engage with social media?
Granted, change doesn’t come easily and with little to no time to manage social accounts many CEOs find other activities simply take priority. But with the benefits highlighted, how can CEOs engage with their audience without social media taking them away from other tasks? Firstly it is important to engage with your marketing team so that they can give you an overview of their social strategy and recommended guidelines. Social media fails are well documented but some simple guidelines will help you avoid the pitfalls. Decide how to engage and at what frequency, do you want to manage your own account in order to maintain a personal style and authenticity or will your team engage on your behalf?
Social listening tools such as Microsoft Social Engagement put powerful social tools at your finger tips — helping you to connect with your customers, prospects, and partners and monitor your competitor activity within Microsoft Dynamics CRM or as a stand-alone app. The reward-to-effort ratio has the potential to be huge with scheduled updates and the ability to manage several social media accounts at the same time. Without hosting a meeting it’s possible for CEO’s to form a connection with their team, customers and wider audience. Contact Prodware today to find out more about how a social strategy led by the CEO can benefit your organisation.