Engaging on a strategic level with key audiences and influencers on social media has come into its own as a significant part of an effective CEO’s outreach efforts.
We still sometimes encounter corporate leaders who want to avoid digital engagement, but we believe they may be missing out on opportunities to tell their company story in some powerful ways and to establish themselves as thought leaders within their industries. Interestingly, a recent Forbes magazine research study revealed that 44% of a company’s market value is directly tied to corporate leadership’s positive involvement with their customers and key stakeholders on various social media channels.
We have all been witness to poorly messaged social media posts, and the damage that can be incurred when that happens. It is obviously critical for corporate leaders to not use this medium as a place to vent or as a quick way to jump on an issue without thinking all the way through its ramifications. But used correctly, various digital and social channels can be extremely effective in not only reaching a broad base of customers, but also in allowing both internal and external audiences to feel as if they have a more meaningful “relationship” with those who lead the companies from which they purchase products and services.
Executive social visibility has truly become a powerful strategic messaging and brand positioning tool. It also provides opportunities to expand a company’s reach. By effectively and consistently using social channels and thereby building key audiences, an executive can become known not just as a well-informed leader of his or her own company, but also as a leader of the community in which that company resides, as well as a spokesperson for broader business and societal issues.
Highly visible and digitally-connected corporate leaders are in positions to potentially shape important commentary around issues that matter to their workforce and to the general public. Additionally, they can become trusted sources of factual information and even of hope during trying times.
Corporate executives who succeed in productively utilizing social media channels understand the importance of putting their messages within a proper context as well as the value of brevity and of relevance to targeted audiences. They understand that engaging in real-time communication is important when reaching out to digital audiences. Therefore, their messages must be timely, in addition to being interesting and informative.
In the past, many corporate leaders have relied on in-person meetings and speaking engagements to convey their messages and elevate their visibility. But once the pandemic hit, they had to pivot to online strategies and virtual events in order to engage with their key audiences remotely. Engagement on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn has increased dramatically in a recent survey of CEO’s, with 50 percent of those interviewed saying that they had to quickly learn the tools of the trade in this regard.
The bottom line is that corporate leaders who are uncomfortable or absent in the digital space need to better understand the value of tapping into a well-planned and consistently executed social media strategy. This important medium isn’t going away, and the possibility of falling further behind in capitalizing on it is no longer an option.