According to a study by CEO.com, of the 39% of CEOs who are active on social networks a majority (70%) prefer to be on one network as compared to 6 in the past. Also, only 21% of them are Influencers on Linkedin. The paucity of time, lack of knowledge, uncertainty in navigating the medium and inability to focus for the long term are potentially the causes. The ‘celebrity’ CEO has fallen – with less trust in senior leadership and increased credibility now resting with ‘people like us’. That doesn’t mean the CEO is redundant. It only means the engagement approach to social media has changed and CEOs need to adapt. To help your organization’s CEO get the most of the online networks requires a fair deal of work – from you as a communicator and from the leader.
Here are a few pointers to get the most of your CEO’s social media presence.
– Position your leader: Every leader brings a different dimension to steering the company agenda. Highlight what makes your leader stand apart from the rest. For example, is it confidence, humility, passion or reliability? How is it different from what other leaders say or demonstrate who they are? Having a clear positioning can be immensely helpful while communicating what your leader is communicating.
– Engage in a multi-level dialogue: Apart from engaging as professional readers on social media are keen to more about the leader’s personal story and values. People are interested in learning more about the individual’s life experiences and what the person can teach. Choose a format that suits the leader or even mix formats – text, visuals or video. The opportunities are many. When the leader interacts with new hires, on the job, while engaging clients, participating in community events, pursuing a personal passion among others.
– Build a rhythm: It isn’t easy staying consistent with updating a channel – even if you are not the CEO! It does take commitment and focus. With a job that expects one to be business driven updating a communication channel can take a backseat. The role of the communicator is to keep the leader honest about what can be done, how and when. Spotting opportunities to intervene and provide counsel so that the leader can respond in a timely manner is a big expectation.
– Listen to feedback: Just by listening actively and responding appropriately the leader can build an online presence. People who follow leaders also expect that the individuals are down-to-earth and willing to take views constructively, even if they are not often showing the organization or its practices in the best light. Curating perspectives from readers and making meaning for others can improve the overall social ‘likability’ of your leader.
– Stick to principles: What needs to shine through is the authenticity and consistency with which the leader engages. No amount of ghostwriting can save a leader who isn’t committed to giving time and making an effort to connect. Show the personal side of the organization through the eyes of the leader. Have the individual lives the values and demonstrate credibility.
To help your leader be more ‘social media’ active requires the communicator to also establish trust, prove sufficient expertise and hands-on appreciation of what it takes to engage on such channels. Ask pertinent questions that will trigger ideas and create opportunities for the leader to share, teach and be real. Understanding your leader, providing the right counsel and coaching can lead to an improved social media presence.
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