New Year’s Resolution for CEOs: Get a social media strategy

There is a conversation happening right now across social media on your product, your company and your industry. Are you participating in it?

The answer is “no” for 68 percent of CEOs, according to The Social CEO 2014 report by Domo and But it’s likely to become a “yes” in 2015 because there is demand.

Consider this:

  • CEO communications are vital: 90 percent of corporate communication experts throughout Europe say their CEO’s capacity to deal with the media and other critical audiences has become interwoven with the overall success and reputation of their corporations, yet only half have established reputation management practices of highest company representative, according to European Communication Monitor 2013, the world’s largest survey of communications pros.
  • The CEO is a public-facing brand: “The reputation of business leaders at large organizations is now so important. CEOs can make and break corporate brands. Gone are the days of figureheads gliding effortlessly behind the scenes. Today leaked career moves and public failure can infect a brand severely and quickly. In many cases the brand of the CEO has become shorthand for the brand of the organization,” says the European Chief Communication Officers Survey 2013.
  • Social media strategy is a need: 73 percent of communications professionals said they believe social media content changes the perceptions of external stakeholders; 57 percent believe social changes the perception of employees. However, only 38 percent of organizations have developed social media policies, according to Weber Shandwick’s “Employees Rising” study of 2014.
  • Employees want social CEOs: 73 percent of employeeswant their CEOs to communicate more frequently with them in writing. Social media’s prevalence makes it easy and efficient.
  • Social employers boost business: “Employees with socially-encouraging employers are significantly more likely to help boost sales than employees who employers aren’t socially encouraging (72% vs. 48%, respectively), according to “Employees Rising.”
  • Employees are social: 33 percent of employees have made social posts about their employers — and half of those employees shared criticism or negative comments about their employers, says “Employees Rising.”
  • CEOs need a social media strategy: Only 32 percent of CEOs have a social presence, according to The Social CEO Report. Most are on LinkedIn, but they started adding Twitter and Facebook accounts in 2014.

There is a growing expectation for business leaders to participate in public conversations about their companies and their industries through social media. “Participating” entails listening, watching, sharing, applauding, and many other actions that run from quiet to oblique to direct.

Social media is a one-on-one conversation that’s public. It scales.

Imagine having the opportunity to connect with all constituents — your employees, your colleagues, your clients, and your competition — in a powerful and personal way, above the fray of a crowded email inbox, a gatekeeper assistant, numerous meetings, the black hole of voicemail, the squeezed-in meetup for coffee, etc.

Eighty percent (80%) of smartphone users check their phones before they get out of bed in the morning and they average 132 minutes a day communicating and using social media on those phones, according to IDC Research. How’s that for personal?

Corporate executives have many audiences who look to them for leadership, insight and news. They represent the brand values and culture of the organization. Their words and actions can turn on investors and turn off employees, and vice verse.

It’s imperative that CEOs get social.

Your constituents are waiting.

Next:  Series on best practices for executives on social media.





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