Updated: Jan 3
Tuesday nights I meet up with a Twitter group called #DigiBlogChat – I was introduced to the group a few months back and I feel as if this must be what an e-home from home feels like. Thank you for the intro Maricar Jagger and thank you for the warm welcome Carol Stephen. Last week’s topic discussed bosses and I asked if the questions could include senior management and social media, specifically those who choose not to use it. I was given a gentle nudge by Randy Clark to write a blog about this.
Why would a boss be on social?
Brand awareness is a perfectly good reason to invest in social media and it may be your main goal for using it. The more brand awareness and recognition begins to grow for your company, the more you’ll notice a conversation emerging around you.
Social media is a powerful communication tool, noticeably more so in recent months, and when used consistently, or even regularly, you will know its potential to reach your intended audience and the value and impact that will have.
We want to know more about the person behind the title and this can be a smart and easy way to help build a platform of trust and likeability, when handled carefully. Choosing not to meet your stakeholders where they are likely to be, not to communicate with your employees where they are likely to be spending time is, in my opinion, a missed opportunity.
The top organisations in the world have CEOs with successful social media voices. However, some people in a senior role come from a school of thought that feels social doesn’t befit their level of gravitas or grandeur. Damian Corbet says that the main reason the C-Suite has been slow to adapt is probably fear — or a combination of fear and misunderstanding about what social media entails. “Social media exposes people to the outside world. To suddenly be open to questions from anybody, in any way, at any time, is quite a scary prospect.
He adds that “Transparency is one of the key characteristics of a social CEO. Also honesty, humility, openness, fearlessness and a willingness to engage are important. And this all starts with the right mindset — one that sees social media not as a challenge, but as a great opportunity.”
We like to hear from management and with so many of us working from home for the last six months, not having the ‘normal’ day-to-day interactions with colleagues since March 2020, we crave good communication. That feeling of human interaction matters, even if it is virtual for now.
Aside from this, isn't it true that we're just a bit curious about what people of interest to us want to talk about, their points of view on disruptive tech or whatever they are passionate about, what motivates them to do what they do, their vision for business – these thoughts give us a well-rounded view of the person and I believe it is a natural human instinct to be curious about what makes people tick.
So, bosses, start now, you can catch up quickly in ‘real’ time.
Clearly the painful challenges are not necessarily discussed in depth on social media, but familiar themes do resonate with common threads of thought emerging when we pay attention.
A CIO I follow on LinkedIn - Dave Jones - is a regular on the platform and he posts about topics affecting people and business today, he has his finger on the pulse of things. At the time of writing this article, this was his latest poll:
One of my clients has a Charity Partner called the Child Brain Injury Trust and its CEO, Lisa Turan embraces social media, posting and tweeting most days about families affected by brain injury, as well as the Charity’s efforts to raise funds for research. Sharing its stories on social media raises awareness of CBIT’s work and also the people involved in the work. Raising funds is not easy in a climate of uncertainty and reaching out to the country on social helps to keep the Charity front of mind.
Bosses need to have a plan. If you’re going to go social, do it, and do it well. Be consistent and be friendly. All of the above benefits are there to be taken advantage of.
For the companies that treat social media as an innate part of its communication strategy, it seems natural to share thoughts regarding the company on the likes of Twitter, and LinkedIn (naturally). But for the more traditional bosses who have been in business for many years, the advantages of communicating on social may be lost to them.
When the leading names in an organisation are heard, perhaps in a thought leadership piece or a post or article addressing concerns people and businesses are experiencing, it reflects well on a company, as a whole. Being recognised as a key voice in any niche can position the company and its brand very favourably with the market it is trying to reach. I like to see people I know on social media, I particularly like to see people with years of expertise in niche industries talk about it and share insights, past and present, and hopefully their thoughts for the forseeable future - not that anyone can predict the future currently! It doesn't need to be formal, it's a social conversation and bosses should relax and enjoy it.
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