Twenty years ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs “nailed it” when he predicted the role of computers would evolve from computation to communication. Today the use of social media through computers and mobile sources are the primary means of business communication worldwide.
Although social media has evolved into a fundamental business tool, a recent BRANDfog survey showed that 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on any social media platform whatsoever.
Risk aversion and an unwillingness to invest time in these increasingly dominant communication platforms are costing companies more than just money.
The Business Case for Social Media
Here are 8 reasons why your company’s senior executive team needs a consistently active social media presence:
1. Visibility… and sales: Online visibility builds brand loyalty and purchase intent among customers, according to the BRANDfog survey. The greater your executive team’s online presence, the greater the awareness of your brand. Social media helps you build your brand, improve search engine optimization (SEO) and lead generation efforts, and support sales.
2. Brand trust: The BRANDfog survey showed that executives who engage in social media significantly increase brand trust. Also, 75% of stakeholders state that CEO engagement on social media leads to better leadership. This means consumers perceive that social media use increases trust in your corporate brand – and your executives’ personal brands, too.
3. Accountability: Customers have come to expect corporate transparency about everything from product origin, clean supply chains and corporate responsibility. Social media helps companies demonstrate public accountability for their policies and practices.
4. Connection: Social media allows leaders to engage with their audiences in a meaningful way. According to the Brandfog survey, 83% of senior leaders think CEOs who actively participate in social media can build better connections with their customers, employees and investors.
5. Accessibility: Social media has increased the demand for leaders to be accessible, so that customers and stakeholders can engage directly. Whether or not executives engage on social media, stakeholders now expect relevant, timely and personal replies to their messages – opportunities for your company to show you care.
6. Access to other leaders: By being active on LinkedIn alone, senior-level executives have the opportunity to connect and communicate directly with top leaders at major organizations in their field. These interactions can improve personal career opportunities and corporate business dealings.
7. Market research: Listening to customers through social media is a powerful exercise in market intelligence. Social media interactions allow companies to gain more information from customers than any other channel. Your company can take tangible actions based on external suggestions.
8. Acceptance of “the new normal”: Social media is pervasive and it’s here to stay. Social platforms are today’s sources of news – they are how consumers inform themselves of everything from international terrorist activity to product launches and reviews. It’s time to accept and embrace the new reality that social media plays a role in business communication – and success.
Relief for Common Concerns
To counter risk aversion related to using social media, your C-suite should consider the bigger risk of being seen as an outdated, impersonal dinosaur that fails to adapt to change. In response to concerns of time scarcity, your C-suite can keep social simple by focusing on the channels that make the most sense to your company.
Don’t get left behind. Embrace social media and prove that your C-suite is equipped to lead your company, articulate your brand values and shape your corporate reputation in this new digital world.
How does your company’s C-suite use social media?
Lisa Goller helps businesses tell their story. As a Toronto-based Strategic Freelance Writer & Editor, she helps executives and entrepreneurs stand out, look good and save time. Learn more at lisagoller.com
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Drumwright, Hayes. Social Media Has Become Indispensible for CEOs. Entrepreneur. September 23, 2014.
Kapkow, Matt. Why C-Suite Executives Need to Shine on Social Media. CIO.com. March 18, 2014.
Windisman, Anita. Why the C-Suite Should Embrace Social Media. Sparksheet.com. May 24, 2012.