A Little Social Media Goes a Long Way:
Top 5 Reasons to be a Social CEO
It is quite rare to find someone who is not using social media, as it has become an important part of the online experience, however, that is not the case when it comes to CEOs. According to a recent study by CEO.com, “approximately 61% of CEOs have little to no social media presence at all,” while consumer trends are heading in the opposite direction, with upwards of two billion social media users. So the question is, if most customers are using social media, shouldn’t the CEOs? The answer is yes, and here is why:
1. Real Time Communication and Investor Relations
A simple scroll through a Twitter stream can reveal a lot of valuable information about a company. Commentary from customers and investors on topics such as what a company is doing right and wrong, requests for features, and product support questions are just some of the valuable insights that once required focus groups and analysis to obtain. Social media gives CEOs direct real-time communication and relations to customers and investors with minimal time and effort. John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile as well as ‘Twitter rockstar’ according to CNN, said, “I have a much more precise pulse on what’s happening, even with individual customers.” By getting out into the digital field, Legere has even implemented ideas from customers’ social media suggestions about what they are looking for (such as “Data Stash” monthly rollover program and “Binge On” unlimited video deal).
2. Build Trust and Company Morale Inside and Outside the Building
Building trust and rapport with customers, investors, and employees requires CEOs to get involved. Social media presence reveals a real human standing behind their brand. T-Mobile’s progressive leader, John Legere, leverages twitter posts to respond to customers, showing that there is a real person steering the direction of the company and looking out for their interests.
The perks of social media are not only seen outside the building with customers and investors but internally among professionals and employees. Weber Shandwick and KRC Research found that, “nearly 70% of senior professionals report that when CEOs post on social media it makes a company a more attractive place to work.”
3. Brand Image and Transparency
Digital channels keep communication open in a world where hierarchical work structures often inhibit CEOs from interacting with customers and employees. Online interaction gives CEOs the ability to make an immediate connection without a meeting or presentation and it also makes connecting a little easier. T- Mobile’s John Legere, "credits his devotion to social media as one of the catalysts for T-Mobile's (TMUS) remarkable turnaround over the past few years." With over 2 million followers and 17 thousand tweets later, Legere is one of the rare CEOs who interacts directly with customers and implements their suggestions, which has a direct effect on the company’s performance and stock price.
4. A Digital Marketing Tool, Global Broadcast Channel and PR Vehicle from Anywhere at Anytime
Online channels can be used in many ways and are endlessly scalable from intimate one-to-one dialogue as well as the ability to share with mass audiences – it’s all about how one chooses to use it to their advantage. In comparison to more traditional methods of sharing such as press releases, Facebook can be used just as effectively with minimal effort. Social media can be leveraged as an executive productivity tool, a source of consumer and competitor insights, PR vehicle, and a channel that gives one the ability to broadcast globally as well as connect with people they may not have been able to before.
5. Better Leadership
Change doesn’t come easily but it is important to keep up with the developing forms of communication and interaction. Some CEOs view social media as a distraction, a liability (not corporate or professional), and/or waste of time, however, it’s important to realize that cultural trends are continually changing and new social patterns are emerging that rely on a society that is connected by social media.
The big return and audience reach compared to the minimal effort ratio is vast and full of opportunities. Digital channels open communication for CEOs to conveniently connect with their team as well as customers and investors while conveying the company’s story to improve brand image and transparency. It is not just about broadcasting information from the top down but rather to strengthen relationships, create a culture of integrity and build trust, which has a positive effect on employees, investors and customers alike.