It's essential for a company to have a social media presence these days. That's a given. Interestingly enough, however, often it is the CEOs who are still reluctant to jump on board. According to a study conducted by Domo and CEO.com, 61 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are not active on any of the major social networks. Even if they do have an account it was also found that it was not active. For example, "half of all CEOs tweet once a month or less, and those using the platform averaged one tweet every five days, as compared."
The good news? CEOs, mainly younger CEOs, are warming to social media. But, there's still a long way to go. That could change if CEOs were aware of the various ways that they could participate in social media, such as the following 10 examples.
1. Create Buzz and Spread Brand Awareness
CEOs can use social media to build excitement and spread brand awareness about their brand. Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and Square, uses the company that he co-founded to accomplish this by retweeting stories that discuss his companies, sharing the latest news, and getting customers excited. For example, he proudly tweeted that those attending 2016's Coachella could use their Apple or Android device to make purchases since every vendor at the event would be accepting Square. On a personal level, I've been able to drive countless new users to my products and services. In a competitative payments industry, this gives me a little bit of a competative edge.
2. Show Your Personality
If you want people to relate to your brand then there's nothing more effective than providing a face behind the company. Sir Richard Branson has mastered this technique by sharing personal stories, insightful career advice, and he likes to show himself just enjoying life on his social media accounts, and we respond to him giving us a glimpse of his life.
3. Demonstrate Thought Leadership
When Hootsuite analyzed the world's top 100 CEOs on social media, one common thread was that these CEOs offered valuable content. As Hootsuite goes on to say;
"Establishing yourself as a thought leader, who people want to follow, begins with sharing quality, value-added content. This can include industry insights, leadership tips and advice, commentary on news and trends, video Q&As with followers--and more. With your social and content teams, craft, plan and share this type of content regularly through your social channels."
4. Thank Employee and Customers
Showing gratitude to both your employees and customers is essential for leaders. While adding a personal touch is always recommended, sometimes it's hard to thank everyone. Social media provides an opportunity for CEOs to thank the people who have supported them in their company building. Apple CEO Tim Cook excels at this. If you follow him on Twitter you'll notice that he has lots of tweets and pictures thanking Apple employees and customers for their support. As a CEO, I highly recommend you do this.
5. Squash Disasters
As CEO you're bound to run into a couple of disasters along the way. Social media provides the best platforms to address and handle a crisis for a CEO. For example, when the AirAsia plane crashed on December 28, 2014 GCEO Tony Fernandes kept his Twitter followers up-to-date on the recovery efforts, as well as expressed the company's concerns for the families.
6. Learn From Other Leaders
Effective leaders are constantly looking for ways to expand their knowledge of how best to build their people, their companies, and themselves - which they can pass on to others. Connecting with other thought leaders on social media is a simple and easy way to learn something new. Bill Gates has said "I see what other people are doing, what they think is interesting, so I'm learning from other people. I can do all kind of searches on Twitter and say, is there any global health stuff out there, is there any education reform stuff out there?"
7. Engage With Journalists
As already mentioned, social media is an incredible broadcasting tool that provides CEOs the chance to engage and interest their customers, employees, and stakeholders. It can also be used to engage with journalists. Tesla's Elon Musk not only shares the latest company updates on social media for journalists to report, he also tweets press kits and has one-on-one conversation with journalists.
8. Share Your Values
The most successful CEOs are known for their generosity. Social media gives them a platform to share their values and spread brand awareness. As Arianna Huffington told Co.exist in 2012, "when it comes to championing causes, social media can be a valuable tool for sharing your values and your causes." Huffington added that the Greek protests in 2011 "were fueled by social media." She also said, "Social media can be used for mindless escape, or for the opposite, for connection and meaning."
9. Provide Accessibility
How many times can a customer engage and interact with a CEO? Prior to social media, that was a rare occurrence. Lenovo's CEO Yang Yuanqing is not only a LinkedIn influencer, he makes it a point to interact directly with the public so that his company and its customers can learn from each other.
10. Recruit New Talent
Jerome Ternynck, Founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters, has said "hiring IS social." Ternynck elaborated;
"The CEOs that understand talent is a competitive advantage, uses social media to attract. We should leverage social media. I consistently connect and keep up with everyone that I meet that has high potential whether it's a good time to hire them or not. Networking is key. Ultimately, the aggregate network between my employees and me represent several million people in our industry. The likelihood of hiring someone outside of our social network is extremely low."
Still think you don't have time for social media? Here are a few social media productivity tips to help you find time for social as it's something you should be doing.