Let’s face it, most C-Suite level executives and business owners are not online. It is likely for a lot of great reasons -they are busy, they think it could hurt the company brand, they do not know what to say, it is not their job.
If these responses seem familiar, here are five important reasons why the CEO and any executive team member should be online.
1. Your Customers are Online
The reality is that sometimes as a CEO or business owner, you can sometimes be removed from the day to day customer interactions, experience, and what people are interested in at any given day. It can be insightful and eye-opening for a business leader to be where their customers are online and listening. It is important to know your audience.
Action Step: Identify one social media channel to join or engage in based on where your customers and prospects are. Talk with your marketing team about how you can help support the business goals. The marketing team could even write content for you to respond with or speak to online.
2. Your Current & Future Employees are Online
Talent is one of the top challenges facing companies. To attract talent, it is important that a company has at least one member of their leadership team online. Recently, I worked with a company, and we identified four people from the leadership team that needed to be visible (and also wanted to be visible). Four members of the executive team were up to the task: the CEO, the HR lead, the head of Innovation, and the Business Development lead.
Each of these team members spoke about different elements of the company, and it showcased more personality, transparency, and a sense of clear leadership. If your leaders are out of sight and therefore out of mind, your company is missing a opportunity.
Action Step: Identify 2-3 leaders that want to be online and build a more visible presence and set up a plan to start engaging online in an intentional way. Be sure to integrate into your marketing calendar. Have new employees interview the CEO – or even vice-versa and share those online as a start.
3. You Can Measure Your Impact and Manage It
Given that most companies have an online presence, it is important to ensure your presence is consistent across all of the online touch-points. It can be hard to maintain an online presence, however, if the CEO and leadership team pays attention and measures online performance, then the odds of it happening effectively are much higher.
Action Item: Include online engagement from the leadership team as a metric when it comes to increasing awareness, prospecting, and thought leadership.
4. Recognize Brand Ambassadors and Celebrate Their Impact
Companies should build brand ambassador programs where they empower employees at the front line (and elsewhere) to have the discretion to solve problems on behalf of the customer. Recognize those employees that have cracked the code and take their role and the companies customers seriously.
Action Item: Identify who does this best and recognize them at the next all hands. Build out a social media policy and guardrails for employees, so they know their options and can take ownership in their day to day decision making.
5. You Control the Message
Recently, at an executive luncheon, I was discussing options for what to have on your online profiles, how to decide which content to share, etc. Many executives are afraid or unsure what to put online. The beauty is that you get to control the content. You can share as much or as little as you decide. Three important questions to ask could be: 1) what is relevant for growing the company and 2) who are my key audiences and 3) what might they want to know?
Action Item: identify three to five key audiences and prioritize what messages they would be interested in received and through which channel. Look at what competitors are doing as well to help you stand out when you craft your message.
Remember, personal branding is not personal bragging,