The idea behind building social media presence often comes up tricky. Most of the top specialists just cannot see its usefulness clearly enough (at least at the beginning) to contribute a portion of their precious time to its development. Particularly Chief Executive Officers are those who frequently face the question of the true necessity of these measures. Let’s find out whether you’re wasting your time polishing your social media profiles and connecting with other doubtful members of the networks or it’s exactly worth-doing thing.
Here comes the first doubt (or rather the set of questions). You might think, my company is broadly presented across all nearly possible platforms. People can easily contact and find our website, blog, etc. Everything is connected tightly enough to become a sort of a net for users to easily navigate through. So what kind of advantage should I expect from improving my own presence throughout social media channels? At the first sight, it might appear as something that can hardly turn out to be advantageous. However, hold on a bit before you judge.
Here you need to consider one thing. People like brands with human personality. Humanization brings brands closer to their prospects and makes them more accessible. The later makes conversations between companies and their audience more comfortable and natural. This is the point where you would often feel stuck with the question – what exactly makes brand human-like. There you would likely feel the need to define the true borders of what brand is actually: where it starts and where it ends up, which layers it consists of, what makes it real in the sight of the audience and, oppositely, what makes it artificial and repellent. Curiously, companies usually face these issues after they have grown enough to face the answers.
So where should you look for principal features that make your brand what it is? Everywhere. It’s the character of the company that shows up in everything it does and says. It’s about social media channels of your company, it’s offline and online contacts, the way it talks to its audience, how it treats important social occurrences, which position it takes about relevant issues, etc. Every Facebook post, Quora answer, retweet, LinkedIn profiles of its employee, and all of them together say out loud about what this brand is. And its humanization component depends totally on how each member of the company displays itself within media space. Needless to say that especially it has to do with the behavior of top authorities within social media channels.
Do You Really Need It?
There are two possible options companies and particularly their top employees are taking: hide or stand out. Sometimes, you can observe how active founders, CEOs, managers of the certain company become so that they are living socially active life. They are building connections, reporting on their routine work in the way it seems like a hobby and in any case they don’t forget to remind you about the company they work at. They show how happy people who work there are. Perfectly when they show true routine workflow without artificially perfect photos but with real people working, talking, eating, going out and so on. This is valuable and this shows human face behind companies.
Now we are back to the initial question of the need in socializing for CEOs. Does it really matter? My friend told me a story of how she’d got acquainted with one tech company. Indeed, she was invited to the job interview. Her investigation started with the exploration of information about the company existing within the Internet. She was looking for it on its website, but especially on social media channels.
The website contained very few information that could reveal people behind the company she was interested in, no identity to discover. The website was polished and looked professional but felt extraneous. Facebook page of the company was packed with “shares” from other trusted sources and some faceless content they might have produced by themselves.
One day she went to the interview and while she was filling up questionnaire, she noticed unrespectful way manager treated members of staff and how cold the atmosphere was. At that moment she realized how good their social presence reflected the company itself. From outside it could look like they didn’t value connections with their customers and those inside their company. So did they with their employees.
Of course, it doesn’t work this way every time. Sometimes companies are not aware of how to build their social presence correctly, how not to appear too informal, how to show its true face without being childish. And thousands of other such “how”. Therefore, in order not to fail, they just put more and more content that can tell about their expertise. Isn’t it the most widespread advise startups are handed? More and more content that can show how professional you are.
No doubts, content is definitely a great thing. But there should be not only the professionally polished content or, in other words, the only plain effort to sound professional. You need to find your windows to show who those people behind the company brand are (apart from their professional ambitions). Usually, we don’t forgive other people what we don’t like the most in ourselves. Guess what. Many professionals hate when they notice that somebody is narrow-minded and over-focused on the work even though it usually comes hand in hand with expertise.
This is why the wise building of CEO’s social presence can be extremely useful for the company. Given that CEO is the face of the company, it can play the key role in the overall brand puzzle. Moreover, the more information the audience is given about the heads of the company – the less it’s going to invent in order to describe it. Does it make sense for you? I bet it does and you cannot merely deny it. Nowadays information is everything. If people cannot easily find it, they will probably make some efforts to get it and if they face any difficulties, they would rather invent it than dig for it (as it’s easier than to make efforts in looking up trusted sources).
Pick the Right Venue
As you can see, social presence for CEOs isn’t just a question of showcasing their versatility, but it’s a question of how people may see the face of the company. Therefore, working on social media channels is first and foremost. What is essential to be aware of is that each channel has its specification.
Facebook is for private life, for talks with friends and family. There it’s legal to be a father who takes his family to the countryside on weekend, plays monopoly game with his children, and eats popcorn while watching a movie with his wife. Even if you’re in the head of a huge company, nobody expects from you to be a robot. Instead, people would love to know that you have your family, your friends, your life that has nothing to do with your professional ambitions. This is how they realize that you’re just like them. Consequently, it makes them feel more comfortable approaching your company.
Twitter is slightly more formal in the way that you can show who you are interested in hearing from, what kind of issues you bother yourself with and what you think about all that stuff. On Twitter, you can give your opinion in the short form so your prospects would get curious to find out more on it searching for other channels. And from there they should definitely come to your LinkedIn profile. This is the place to balance your (mild) liberty of Facebook profile, your broad-mindedness of Twitter one with full of expertise and professionalism. This is how people realize that CEO of the company is a specialist, yet a real person.
Mastering LinkedIn Knowledge
It’s essential not to confuse these channels. The more you master sorting information between those ones – the better your social presence will look like. Finally, we have come to the main question of this article – how to leverage LinkedIn in strategical socializing of CEO. If you’re still in doubts (that is nearly unbelievable), consider 80 % that accordingly to the Weber Shandwick’s (the author of Socializing Your CEO: From Marginal to Mainstream) research represents a number of CEOs actively using LinkedIn for building their presence across social media.
If you know basics of using LinkedIn, then you know where to start. Let’s make a quick overview and check your knowledge:
- make the rich profile (include videos, podcasts, images, links to other sources)
- keep your bio relevant
- link your LinkedIn profile to other channels
- include links to other social media profiles and company website
- join groups of your professional area and communicate
- make your own groups to gather specialists
- actively build connections
- permanently share knowledge with other professional and those is looking for your advice
- publish great content to showcase your expertise
All those steps are typical for developing LinkedIn presence not only for CEOs but in general for professionals. However, we need to focus here on few things. The first thing I would like to highlight here is the importance of rich profile. The more content you visitors can see there – the better. For this, include various types of information – videos, podcasts, images, your articles published on other platforms. The more – the better.
The second thing is LinkedIn posts. Of course, as I’ve mentioned just above you can share links to your articles all over the web, however, it’s important to have original content on LinkedIn (which in turn you can share on other channels). Remember that creation of trustworthy content and sharing the authoritative point of view can come up crucial for CEOs. This is where you should be extremely careful as everything you’re doing would get a lot of attention – either positive or negative.
Social media channels are powerful tools for making your virtual presence truly versatile and trustworthy. Most of the people haven’t gotten the chance to meet you face-to-face (and a lot of them won’t have it ever) so the idea is to leverage social media in such a way that they can look at your personality from different angles.
If talking about LinkedIn, it would be certainly your professional side you need to fully present. Make your profile reach, continually grow your network, share your experience by creating great content that helps. And remember that the key to maintaining interest of the audience lies in regular actions so your profile should always contain relevant information and your content should be regularly added and updated.