Why Social CEO is the New Norm
In the digital age, one of the most prominent changes in corporate culture is the way that any given company’s executives are perceived. Gone is the old notion of the tireless CEO working long into the night in an office all by himself/herself, and it has been replaced by an image of a much more interactive executive who is proficient with the usage of social media and takes advantage of that to connect with users and followers.
Part of this is out of necessity, so that company leaders can dispel public distrust about corporate leaders, and part of it is born of a genuine need to connect with a target audience. Today’s CEO is still busy running the business alright, but part of his/her duties now include being an active participant on the social media platforms.
For years, CEOs and other executives of companies considered activity on the social media to be a time-consuming and unnecessary activity which took them away from their primary duties, and thus should be considered no more than a distraction. That perception began to change after 2010, but the increase in social media usage by executives up to that point was more attributable to new CEOs appearing in Fortune 500 companies or entirely new companies appearing in the Fortune 500 list itself.
This means that the increase in social media usage was not an indication of existing executives changing their habits, but was more representative of the fact that there were new CEOs in the mix. In the last two or three years, however, all that has begun to change, and even the older and more experienced CEOs have begun to realize that part of their duties includes staying active on the social media. So what’s behind this big swing to greater social media participation among executives?
Humanizing the company
One of the biggest reasons that CEOs and other company executives have become much more involved in social media is the need to humanize the company, and to give it a face that consumers can relate to. These days, conducting an effective business simply must be a personal matter, because that’s the best way for consumers and potential customers to connect with a company, and to form some kind of loyal relationship with it.
Marketing tactics have grown extremely sophisticated, and advertising which is not personalized to reach specific customers is simply ignored for the most part. CEOs and top executives have to do their part to personalize the company and make it appeal to consumers who might otherwise turn a blind eye to them.
Virtually every company in America is aware of the need for creating a personal connection with its audience, as a means of encouraging sales and greater loyalty. CEOs and top-level managers are in the unique position of being particularly persuasive with social media users, because of their extensive knowledge of the company. This is ideal for engaging in forums and discussions on social media, which result in very strong connections between the audience and the executive.
Ways for CEOs to engage with consumers
It’s a great idea for just about any CEO to infuse elements of their own personality into social posts, so as to form a connection with audience members. Dry social feeds don’t really attract much attention and are largely ignored by the general population on any social media platform. That’s why any content which is posted, or any discussions which are held with audience members should take into consideration their specific wants and needs and should be infused with personal elements provided by a top executive or CEO.
With a little practice, an individual tone can be developed, and interesting anecdotes can be shared with the audience, as well as the occasional inspirational thought. CEOs also have the advantage of maintaining a vast network of peers and important figures in their industry, and very often these individuals can be prevailed upon to share their thoughts and anecdotes with consumers as well. This can be especially advantageous if those associates are influencers in the market, who can persuade consumers to make purchases or to become loyal company followers. Very often, influencers can be more effective in conveying calls to action to consumers than anyone within the company itself.
Another great method of engaging with your target audience as a CEO is to invite users’ comments or opinions on any specific subject, although ideally, topics should relate to your industry or your company. Many times, this format is much more appealing to audience members than a straight commentary or discussion, and it has the added advantage of engaging audience members, encouraging them to provide their own opinions and thoughts. This is also another great way to demonstrate your humanity, as opposed to having an image of a cold corporation which doesn’t interact with anyone.
One other great use of social media is in monitoring the current buzz about your company because it’s very important to know what your followers are thinking, whether that be about your products and services, your company personnel, or just general thoughts about the company. Once you are in tune with what users are thinking about your company, you can interact with them, to learn more about their thinking, or to answer any questions which they might have, and you can also recommend changes in corporate culture which may be needed.
Today’s CEO and social media
Today’s CEO is tasked with, among other things, forging a strong connection between the company and its loyal followers, whether those be current customers or prospective new customers. A CEO who becomes truly social and active on the social media, definitely has a certain power as a kind of chief salesperson, to convey new ideas and solutions to consumers, and to persuade more of them to become involved, and enter the sales funnel.
Research has shown that more than half of all users who engage with specific companies will eventually purchase from those same companies, regardless of the social media platform where interaction occurs. The CEO who is actively involved in social media provides a personal touchpoint with consumers, which is a powerful developer of goodwill among them, often leading to strong loyalty for the foreseeable future.