Maintaining an active and engaging presence on social media can provide important reputational advantages for senior executives, from establishing a thought leadership position to advancing brand visibility. But how exactly should members of the C-suite navigate the tumultuous world of social media? Should they treat it purely as an extension of their professional life? What kind of content should they post? To answer those questions and more, here are six best social media practices for the C-suite.
Develop A Strategy
First, be clear from the outset about your goals. Think about how your social media presence will complement your long-term brand building and executive visibility objectives, and then develop your strategy accordingly. For example, if your aim is to elevate awareness of your organization and drive traffic to the website, the approach will be far different than if it is to take a public stand on important issues affecting your company.
Define the audience you want to reach. Are you targeting existing and new customers, media, industry peers, prospective hires, or some combination thereof? Develop your social media strategy with these groups in mind, and tailor your content to be relevant to their interests. Also, different groups gravitate to different platforms, so deciding which social media platform to leverage for what messages is crucial for success.
It is also important to decide whether you will draft your own content or have others support this effort. Each has its advantages, but both will require significant time commitments to ensure your message aligns with your vision.
Finally, prepare a media calendar to plot out frequency and type of content, and aside from static posts, consider if or how often you might want to participate in livestreams or Q&A sessions.
Put a Face to the Name
CEOs in particular are perceived as both individuals and leaders empowered to speak on behalf of their organization, so it’s imperative that you represent yourself as such on social media. Because senior executives are so visible, you would be wise to treat everything you do on social media as an extension of your professional life. The good news is that people typically respond better to real individuals as opposed to brands.
It is best to avoid overtly promotional messages and posts that might be interpreted as self-serving. If you inundate followers urging them to go to this website, buy that, and read this, there is a good chance they will become less engaged with your posts over time.
Bridge the Gap Between You and Your Brand
Audiences will interpret the values, interests, and opinions you espouse on social media as being reflective of your organization, so it is important to synthesize the two. Consider your target audience as a personification of your brand persona.
Humanizing yourself by posting moments from your daily life (a meal out, an event with family or friends) also humanizes your brand, making it feel more accessible to your followers. Consider sharing some of your brand’s original content, but everything should feel organic when one of your followers scrolls through your feed.
Position Yourself as a Thought Leader
This is the most common reason members of the C-suite develop a social media presence. Being recognized as an individual whose point of view is compelling and thought provoking to others can open the door to media interest, enhance your brand’s credibility, and distinguish you from your competitors.
One way to become known as a thought leader is to regularly comment on current events, offering personalized insights to establish yourself as an expert in your sector. Whenever possible, be sure to provide examples of how you or your brand dealt with something similar in the past.
Another way of achieving this same effect is by association. Interacting with other industry leaders and relevant influencers via social media platforms can be an excellent way to position yourself as someone whose views are important to follow.
The Medium is the Message
The content that you post should cater to the strengths of the channel you select. This means posting industry news articles on LinkedIn, time-lapsed videos on Instagram, clip-sized videos on TikTok, and so forth. Users have different expectations for content on different channels and being conscious of those expectations will dictate your overall strategy.
Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid
In most cases, it is best to steer clear of controversial opinions, especially those pertaining to hot-button subjects like politics, religion, and social media feuds. Be selective with what you respond to. Remember that your social accounts will likely be seen by potential hires, new clients, and reporters, and while you can remove a post, that in and of itself can fuel debate.
As an integrated marketing and communications agency, Wilks Communications Group can help you develop the optimal social media strategy for your C-suite. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can maximize your visibility in front of the right audience.