When asked about their social media presence, C-suite executives may grumble “that’s the job of PR and marketing,” and that’s true. What’s also true is that C-suite executives who cultivate their own social media channels generate more engagement and greater visibility for their company than those who don’t — and this creates a growing opportunity for communicators.
Take The Development Dimensions International’s (DDI) High Resolution Leadership study, which examined the leadership skills among 250 candidates with CEO positions and how those skills correlated to the candidates’ social media activity. According to the study, CEO candidates who embrace social media are 89 percent better at empowering others compared to their peers who are inactive on social media, 52 percent stronger at compelling communication and 46 percent more influential.
The study also found that CEOs who are active on social media are 36 percent better at cultivating networks and 16 percent better at making decisions.
But the merits of active social media engagement extend well beyond the internal: 82 percent of consumers are more likely to trust a company when senior executives are active on social media.
Against that backdrop, here’s why C-suite executives should build their personal brand via social media to bolster their company’s reputation in the process.
Increases Company and C-suite Credibility and Visibility
Credibility and trust have taken a backseat, thanks to the internet (our biggest asset and our biggest challenge). But the words of C-suite executives hold value not only for employees of the company but also prospective customers. The exposure and reach of the C-suite can be leveraged to build a highly credible image of a company and increase brand awareness just by speaking to their audience.
Positions C-suite Executives as Thought Leaders
A personal brand should reflect the C-suite’s business expertise and passions. Although the C-suite’s expertise may span a wide range of topics, they should hone in on two or three core ideas, so social media communications don’t lose focus. The ultimate goal is to build a network of engaged followers who discuss and spread your insights.
Creates Opportunity for the Company PR
If your C-suite executives are highly regarded in the media and/or have made multiple appearances with an incisive point of view, they have already completed the first step in building a personal brand. As the personal brand grows an audience and creates buzz in the industry, PR pros can leverage the content for other media platforms as a way to promote the entire organization.
Communicators can also help C-suite executives find their personal brand voice to ensure their use of social media is not a wasted exercise. Their online voice must be authentic, engaging and personal. Inc. offers two kinds of voice C-suite executives may want to use for their social channels:
These CEOs are centered around results, numbers and metrics, and are best known for their accomplishments. Examples include General Motors’ Mary Barra and IBM’s Ginni Rometty.
These CEOs are the innovative thinkers best known for their ideas and high-level innovation. Examples include Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
So now, PR pros need to ask themselves: Who within the C-suite should grow their personal brand and in turn promote the company?
– Sneha Satish
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