You’ve seen me write about social media for CRE, but this time, I’m swapping CRE for CEO to discuss why the boss needs to use his/her social media floss. CEOs who dismiss social media are dismissing much more than what they might see as just another fruitless “hassle.”
In his article in Forbes, David Williams explains why companies with CEOs who engage in social media are ahead of companies with CEOs who shun social media. Recent research supports the fact that consumers and employees trust companies more when the executive leadership uses social media. Blogs, articles and studies have abundantly promoted the idea that social media is a highly positive channel for business, not just teenage social life. But not as much attention goes towards who should represent the business on social media.
Over half of the population uses Facebook and more than 37% use Twitter. Compare this to the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, of whom only 7.6% are on Facebook and even fewer, 4%, use Twitter. The only social media platform CEOs are ahead on is LinkedIn. The C Suite is known for being bombarded with communication and pressed for time, but those who take some time to foster those lines of online communication are enabling their companies to positively engage with customers, prospects and employees.
CEOs and large companies are finally coming to realize that engagement in social media fosters a company culture of adaptability and agility.
As a leader, I look at the Return On Investment (ROI) for social media as a means to obtain contacts that would cost far more money (and perhaps be far less engaged) if we were trying to simply purchase all of our leads through PPC ads.
Williams practices what he preaches, voluntarily putting himself out in as many public forums as possible. His actions are understandable considering that more than 82% of the survey’s respondents are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and team engage in social media. Similarly, 77% of respondents are likely or much more willing to buy from a company whose mission and values are defined through their leaderships’ involvement in social media.
Is this surprising? In many ways, social media for business represents the humanization of a brand. When CEOs participate, it lowers them from their pedestal and erodes the image of a bureaucratic suit with time too precious to waste on the plebs. Senior executives, just remember: in tweets we trust.