Navigating social media can be an intimidating challenge for many people, but particularly for company executives who may not be naturally inclined to communicate using social channels or have the time to learn how to use them.
My own experience with social media has evolved – initially by watching my teenage children use it to communicate, share photos, and catch up on the big news event of the day – and by watching others. For me, I find it easier to separately my personal and work life by using Facebook solely for family and friends, and Twitter and blogging for business topics.
Twitter is a fantastic way to reach a very broad audience. There are now four generations of people in the workforce and Twitter is a channel they all use!
And I really enjoy blogging because it allows me to express my opinions and points of view on IT topics that are top of mind with CIOs and IT leaders. I do many, many customer executive briefings and get input directly from customers and learn what’s most of interest and important to them. I use that information as an opportunity to express my and Cisco’s point of view on a variety of IT topics – collaboration, mobility, cloud and social.
So for those of you who need some encouragement, here are my top 10 tips for executive social media:
- Be relevant – be timely. It’s most important to get your point across while the topic is hot – if you tinker endlessly with your message, you’ll have missed the moment.
- Be provocative – use analytics and data points to back up your theories. Don’t be afraid to express your point of view.
- Use social media as a channel to message your organization and teams’ work and as a form of recognition. Colleagues will enjoy following you so use this channel as a way to express your appreciation!
- Show thought leadership (provide value)
- Use as an ongoing opportunity to connect with others – your peers, influencers and colleagues inside and outside your company
- Listen to feedback and responses – have you resonated with your audience? This is a way to instantly get feedback. And don’t worry about responding to each and every comment; not everyone expects you to reply and when you do they are pleasantly surprised!
- Don’t spam. Enough said.
- Personalize your social media – offer insights to how you think. Be authentic and human. If you’re asked to re-tweet a company message, be sure it reflects your own thinking.
- Don’t be afraid to be an expert!
- Have fun. Go for it – it’s a new medium and we are all still learning; don’t be shy!
How are your executives using social media? And do you have other tips you would recommend in addition to the 10 listed above? For more executive insights regarding social media, check out the Let’s Chat! #ciscosmt Social Media Training Series executive panel we participated in on April 3rd.
Happy Collaborating…the social way!