By David Kiger
The wide-ranging impact that social media has had on American culture in the past decade is remarkable. It’s naturally a big deal in business, and a potential avenue for CEOs to promote their companies’ brands, along with sharing their own viewpoints.
As with many things related to social media, there are good and bad elements for CEOs to consider. Making a connection through the various networks — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc. — can provide a boost to a business’ reputation and attract new customers. Potential dangers include oversharing, fallout from expressing political views, the dreaded spelling and grammar errors and making attempts at humor that could potentially offend people.
Some CEOs choose to stay away. A 2016 survey by CEO.com showed that a significant portion of Fortune 500 CEOs — 60 percent — did not have a presence on the social networks.
As Daniel Newman puts it in a story for Forbes, “Social media done poorly can be harmful to a brand.”
“If an executive or their representative screws up a branded Tweet, the company may attempt damage control,” Newman writes. “However, the world will remember and may not forgive a CEO for a social media gaffe of that nature.”
For business leaders that do want to engage, there are a variety of potential benefits. Take T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who had this to say in a story by Dave Kerpen for Inc.com:
“Our lawyers said it was a terrible idea for me to tweet, but I ignored them. … This is no game. It’s a way of driving my business. Much of what I do online is listen to customers, and social media is perfect for that.”
Here’s a look at ways for CEOs to take advantage of social networking.
Organization and planning
Getting organized applies to every aspect in business, and social media is no exception. Executives looking to expand their voice will need to examine the platforms available and consult experienced users on how to best approach each one. It could be that just a few particular social media outlets are ideal for the business, and the leadership may need advice on narrowing down that list. Zac Carman, CEO of ConsumerAffairs, explores this in a story for Entrepreneur.
“There are so many social media channels, and they all serve a different purpose,” he writes. “… Your business’ social media plan shouldn’t be an afterthought. Really take the time to decide on your social media voice, platform and the type of ideas and information you want to share to engage with your audience. From there, an editorial calendar keeps your content relevant, consistent and true to your brand’s voice.”
Social media activity can have a connection to leadership abilities. A story by Stephanie Neal for CNBC focused on DDI’s “High Resolution Leadership” study, an effort to understand these connections in 250 candidates for CEO positions. Among the results, as Neal reports: