December 08, 2015

Why the C-suite Must Become the Social Suite

As a member of your organization’s C-suite, your daily responsibilities extend far beyond overseeing in-house operations. You’re also a public figure, tasked with effectively and strategically building rapport with your customer base.

While you currently fulfill your public outreach responsibilities by attending industry events and by holding conferences with shareholders and customers, the truth is that, in today’s hyper-connected digital landscape, it’s just as important to reach out over social media. Staying active on channels like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are vital for success.

Here are some ways that you can help your organization by using social media:

  • Build customer trust: Right now, your business’s customer service, marketing and, perhaps even, technical support departments are all using your social media channels to increase communication with customers, thereby building trust. Adding yourself and the rest of the C-suite to your list of contributors will help with this endeavor. By maintaining active social profiles, you can help to bridge the gap between you and your customers and make them feel better about doing business with your company.
  • Keep an eye on employees: In addition to interacting with customers, connecting with your employees over social media will enable you to keep a closer eye on them and counteract any negative social commentary they may produce about your brand. It will remind them about the importance of acting with professionalism, courtesy and respect online.
  • Build thought leadership: In the past, executives maintained a strong social voice by speaking at lectures and occasionally publishing articles or books. Now, the public sphere is online, and so that’s where you should be to capitalize on it. Continue to build thought leadership in your industry by posting videos, images, articles, blurbs and more.
  • Expand your network: Social networks are perfect for linking up with professionals in your industry and forging strong new partnerships and connections. As a result, you can spend less time attending in-person events and more time meeting movers and shakers in your space online.

Rest assured you won’t be the only corporate executive using social media, either. As highlighted in a recent HBR article, about 65 percent of CEOs, senior executives and directors across all major industries in the U.S. and Canada now use social media for personal purposes, while 63 percent do so for business. LinkedIn and Facebook remain the most popular social channels for C-suite users, with 80 percent using LinkedIn and 63 percent using Facebook.

One example of an executive who does an excellent job socializing is T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who is a well-known social maven. His Twitter handle, @JohnLegere, has 1.88 million followers. Take a look at his profile, and notice how he uses his Twitter account as a public stage to communicate with the business world.

Now, once you make the decision to start socializing, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure to avoid using social media as a megaphone for voicing any controversial opinions. Many executives wind up in hot water for being too vocal over social media, and often say things that they go on to regret.  Twitter can tarnish a reputation, and so it’s critical to always approach the platform the same way you would any other publication: Don’t put something in writing that you wouldn’t want anyone and everyone to read.

Next, you’re going to want to form a strategy so that you’re never left scratching your head and wondering what to write about. You’ll want to break down your social messaging into different categories to make this process easier.

One helpful study by Brandwatch, for example, shows how leading CMOs break down their tweets on average. They are as follows: company related (40 percent), personal (24 percent), thought leadership (21 percent) and industry-related (15 percent). By following this example across all social channels, you can ensure a well-balanced mix of content for your followers.

Finally, you’ll want to take time into consideration. Chances are more likely than not that your schedule is already maxed out, and so you won’t want to lose momentum wondering what to produce and when. Consider outsourcing the bulk majority of social content—like LinkedIn articles, Facebook blurbs and tweets to a dedicated custom content publisher that can save you the hassle while at the same time ensuring a professional and engaging tone.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start socializing. Click here to learn more about how we can help get the ball rolling for you. 

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