Social Media and Your CEO: How to Build the Brand Together
Getting your CEO to be a regular participant in your company’s social media program can help you shape perception of your brand as authentic and open. A CEO who is engaged, socially, can help marketers build relationships with consumers in ways that no program or campaign can. Brands ‘feeds’ can sometimes evolve into one-sided messaging. A CEO who joins the chat on Facebook, Twitter, etc., ensures that your brand messaging is a dialogue, not a monologue.
Michael Dell is often held out as the ideal of the socially engaged CEO. It’s because Dell recognizes that the most effective corporate leaders invariably are not just great managers, but great communicators too.
If it’s as imperative for brands to grow relationships on Facebook and Twitter as so many marketers believe it to be — particularly as a way of converting fans into customers — keeping the CEO in the social media loop further builds brand loyalty. CEOs who communicate regularly are also invaluable in boosting a company’s positioning as thought leaders with consumers.
CEOs who may take pause at entering the fray should consider the upside with customers, prospects, journalists, and other influencers. Being part of the conversation brings both risks and rewards, and one of the most rewarding of these intangibles is credibility.
Sure, social media can be scary for some CEOs, perhaps because they ascended the corporate ladder in an era before such channels existed or were important to business. Other CEOs prefer to delegate social media interaction down the chain of command. Some shy away because they don’t want to become the company’s lightning rod or because of concern that their comments in social channels may affect filing and regulatory disclosure rules. And there will always be CEOs who don’t see or can’t measure the ROI of social media engagement.
Still, CEOs who will be most successful are the ones who acknowledge the growing body of evidence that customers are more likely to bond with a brand and buy from a company whose C-level executives engage them in social media channels. CEOs who stay socially engaged are better situated to lead their companies in a Facebook and Twitter world. In fact, the most successful leaders will be the ones who stay ahead of the social media curve, which means constant experimenting to determine which channels work best for them.
Here are some quick tips for making it happen:
- For the less tech-savvy, more time-constrained CEO, infrequent but regular Tweets or FB posts have their place. They can serve as teasers and promotional kick-starters for larger events, deals, opportunities, and stories that the marketing team rolls out. But keep it natural. A dialogue that feels natural and open will always best serve a CEO.
- Marketers can help by advising a CEO how to share opinions in a way that supports the company’s brand positioning. One tactic that leverages this strategy is to retweet his most popular and brand-relevant tweets from your brand handle. This will add personality to your brand handle and almost always attract more followers — as well as retweets — for both your brand and CEO’s base of followers.
- Reserving a regularly scheduled time for a CEO to field questions on Twitter is a way for consumers to learn first-hand about a business and for that business to gain customer trust. Consumers trust a company they can see, hear, and touch; and they especially trust a company with which they can interact, particularly in an open channel.
- A blog might just be the way to go. For the more tech-savvy CEOs, or for a CEO who’s a facile writer, a blog is often the best tool for developing a dedicated following — for the CEO, and, by extension, the brand. A good blog is a megaphone for the business to share ideas with their best customers.
The best businesses know how to leverage their CEO’s social media presence. Your company’s values are embodied and communicated by your CEO, and social is a lens that alters the way consumers perceive your CEO. That lens shapes a company’s brand image and reputation. Great CEOs grasp the trust issues implicit in their social presence.
Trust and transparency go hand in hand. Social media is the ultimate two-way street. People like dealing with a company that deals with them. A CEO who is active in social media channels can do that for a business, while building a base which will stand a company in good stead in times of crisis and just plain old marketplace turbulence.
Mark is Co-Founder and CMO of Offerpop, a fan marketing platform for Facebook and Twitter. Thousands of companies use Offerpop to run promotions, sweepstakes and fan engagement programs – launching campaigns in minutes and tracking performance in real-time. Mark has helped launch an array of online, mobile and media businesses, including the first TV product placement ratings service (Nielsen IAG) and the wireless industry’s first mobile virtual network operator (ESPN Mobile). He began his career building brand campaigns for leading consumer marketers in the US and Asia / Pacific, including NIKE, General Mills and Apple.
Published: July 15, 2012 By: