Does Your CEO Speak Social?
I think we all agree that having a CEO that not only encourages the use of social media within the corporation but also leads by example goes a long way when it comes to company-wide social media adoption. While without a doubt a company’s top man or woman will be followed and fanned by many, the impact of getting the rest of the upper management team on board should not be underestimated either. But how can they get there? Let’s say they already understand that social media is here to stay and you no longer need to build the business case for them. Now their big challenge is the “T” word: time. Unless we can squeeze more than 24 hours in a day, we may need to find other ways to unleash the power of social media for C-level executives.
I hope you, dear reader, don’t mind my sharing a fictional letter I wrote to CxOs out there. Here it goes:
Thanks for taking a few minutes to listen to some ideas on ways to get involved in social media without letting it take over your life. Before you get started, here are a few tips to help find your comfort level:
Know who you are: One size doesn’t fit all. Not every CxO will embrace Twitter, and not every CxO will have a Facebook page. The key is to know which communication method(s) work(s) best for you and stick with that.
Start small: It’s better to do one or two things than create too much social presence at once and not be able to keep up with it.
Learn: Think of this as a constant learning opportunity. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. If available to you, practicing internally, using your personal account (if you have one) and/or using a group account is always a good idea when you are just starting out.
Find your voice: The word “social” in social media is just that: social. Be human first. Lose the corporate tone. Remember that you’re talking to other human beings, not corporations.
Ready to engage NOW? There are many options to choose from:
1. Blogging at home: Does your company have a corporate blog? You don’t need to have your own channel, just create quick posts for the main company blog as time permits…on the plane…in the car headed to the airport.
2. Guest blogging: Become a guest blogger for a certain period of time on a third-party independent/online publisher’s site.
3. Blogger events: Become a speaker at or attend as a distinguished guest a blogger forum hosted by your company or other third parties.
4. Social presentation sharing: Post your keynote and other presentations on SlideShare, Brainshark or other online social sharing sites.
5. Communities: Join a relevant third-party community to gather feedback from others and share your insights (e.g., LinkedIn, CIOZone).
6. Twitter listening: In addition to using your community(ies) for listening, use Twitter for listening.
7. Twitter conversations: Use Twitter to converse with your customers and partners.
8. Tweetups: Attend (physically or virtually over video) a tweetup. This can be very powerful if the tweetup is tied to an event you attend or speak at.
9. Tweet chats: Offer your marketing, finance, AR or PR department your availability to participate in tweet chats around certain company topics or announcements.
10. Social media infusion into your events: If you’re a speaker at an event, offer your availability to your marketing or PR team for an hour after your session. Offer attendees to continue the conversation with you on your company’s Facebook discussion forum, your other community forum or on Twitter for up to an hour after the end of your presentation.
11. Social media-infused partner and customer engagement: Create a joint blog, SlideShare presentation, UStream or Facebook event and other thought leadership material with your customers and partners.
12. Thought leadership at virtual events: Become a speaker or panelist at virtual events such as those run on Facebook or UStream, to name a few. During your session, encourage people to tweet in their questions and answer them live. Ask your marketing team to take pictures and video footage of this session. Create a post-event summary blog (with short video clip or picture inserts and) with answers to unanswered questions from your virtual event. Share it. Ask your marketing team to post it on your corporate Facebook page and other social destinations as appropriate.
13. Be social: Encourage your marketing, PR or Events team to take pictures and video footage of you at events, preferably with customers, partners, etc and encourage them to post these on your company’s Facebook page, YouTube, Flickr or other media sharing pages.
14. Use video: Create short video messages on company-related topics for your Facebook fans or community followers.
As you can see, these examples have 2 underlying messages:
1) Act social: Engage
2) Think social: Always ask “How can we bring social into this? Into what we’re already doing?”
What do you think? Can we give this a try?