Should Executives Be Active on Social Media?



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Have you ever had the feeling that things don’t exactly add up? Like when a salesperson is pitching you how innovative and disruptive their company is, and then you discover their executives aren’t even on social media? Now I have no proof that this scenario results in lost sales. On the other hand, in a bake-off between two comparable vendors selling me “digitally transformative” products, I’ll lean to the one that has a CEO active on LinkedIn.

But maybe that’s just me.

And what about millennials? Don’t they want to know about the people behind the brand, including hearing from and being able to communicate directly with company leaders on social media? You’d think having a socially available C-Suite would help, not only with sales, but also with hiring and communicating company culture.

Why Prioritize Social Media?

With that said, executives are busy running companies. Should they prioritize being on social media?

“Social media should absolutely be a key priority. Any B2B startup CEO that is not aggressively leveraging their position on LinkedIn (at least) is doing a disservice to their company. How could a startup CEO be the chief salesperson and not aggressively use these channels? A CEO title will get two times the response of any Sales title,” said Pratexo CEO Blaine Mathieu.

Britta Meyer, CMO of Claris, noted, “What I’ve always valued most about social media is the authenticity of the content and the user, should the user choose so. It made it so very powerful, that we could gain true insight into somebody’s life, profession and thinking!”

CMOs can use social and have points of views for things not always related directly to their companies/brands, said Karen Steele, a long-time marketing leader who helps scale fast-growth companies. “It’s an important way to stay relevant, network and be a thought leader.”

Social media is important for CIOs, too, reminded Isaac Sacolick, a technology author, blogger, and keynote speaker: “CIOs must lead by example and demonstrate ‘outside-in’ thinking by learning how other organizations invest, plan and execute digital transformations and other strategic initiatives. One of the best opportunities is to participate and contribute on social media where CIOs can find relevant content, collaborate with experts, and validate their expertise in any subject.”

Related Article: What’s Working in B2B Social Media Marketing?

Tips to Get Active on Social Media

Maybe it’s time for you to be active on social media. Here are some guidelines to help:

  • Focus your efforts on LinkedIn first. If you only have time for one social media platform, go with LinkedIn. But after you get a feel for things, then Twitter should be next. Think: LinkedIn is for thought leadership and Twitter is for influence.
  • Start by updating your profile. This means having a friendly headshot photo (smiling, please), background image (ask your marketing team for one), and an about/bio section written to engage other executives, not recruiters. Keep in mind the question: “What can buyers learn from you and what sets you apart?”
  • Post two to four times per week. It’s about consistency not frequency. And add a simple sentence or two with each post to let everyone know what you’re sharing or why.
  • Don’t just make it about yourself. Yes, share content about you and your company, but you’ll build more credibility and trust if you share other people’s content, too. Make sure to post industry and leadership articles that you find interesting.
  • Ask and answer questions. Don’t be shy about posting and answering questions. This is social media after all. Tap into the knowledge of your social network.
  • Add hashtags. Sprinkle in a few hashtags to make it easy for those within and beyond your connections to discover your posts. LinkedIn will even suggest hashtags as you draft your post.
  • Respond to comments. Social media isn’t a one-way street. Acknowledge, thank and (politely) respond to any comments on your posts.
  • Engage other people’s posts, too. Remember, it’s not all about you. Look for opportunities to like, share and comment on posts in your feed that you found interesting … or just to help someone amplify their message.
  • 15 minutes a day. Build social media activity into your daily routine. For example, jump on LinkedIn (and/or Twitter) with your morning coffee or as the last thing you do every day. 
  • Ask your social media team for help. They will be happy to provide guidance and even find a few industry articles every week worth sharing on social media.

Related Article: What Really Drives LinkedIn Follower Growth

Now It’s Your Turn

Any social media tips you’d give to other executives? Share your comments below.

Carter Hostelley is the CEO of Leadtail, a B2B agency focused on making social media work for technology brands and startups. Carter is a relentless advocate of the importance of social media and influencer marketing as a way to reach, engage and influence buyers.

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