By Justin Biel, trends editor at Grow Wire
- A growing contingent of execs are using social media to boost business metrics, from sales numbers to brand awareness.
- However, execs face extra criticism directed at their social media accounts. Thus, their ground rules for online behavior are different than the average user's.
- To both build your audience and reap business benefits from social media, practice the following 5 tricks: Be active, authentic, positive, focused and aware.
It’s not just millennials and brand marketers who consider social media a necessary component of business strategy. The majority of C-suite execs use it too, and their ranks are only going to increase.
To fully reap the business benefits of social media as an exec, you must adhere to some best practices. Unlike an everyday individual’s social profile, your online presence is closely tied to your company, clients and customers. And with that comes some necessary ground rules.
If you’re an exec who isn't on social media, you’re in the minority.
Sixty-six percent of C-suite execs use social media for business purposes, according to a recent study from Grisdale Advisors. Seventy percent of these post on a daily or weekly basis. The top three platforms they use are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and they use Instagram, Google+, Snapchat and Pinterest to a lesser degree.
Overall, most of the execs on social media have public-facing roles like CMO, CCO and CEO, the study found. All in all, only 13 percent of execs don’t use any social media for either professional or personal purposes.
Want to make (positive) headlines? Tweet as an exec.
CEOs who post opinions and updates on social media have the opportunity to lead the news agenda, as CEO Today Magazine points out. Posting and commenting also allows them to meet customers and collect unfiltered feedback, appear more “human” to staff and customers, and build trust, they added.
Additionally, research conducted by Hootsuite and LinkedIn found that when execs use social media, their employees are 40 percent more likely to use it for business purposes too. And when a sales team uses social, they’re 50 percent more likely to hit quota. So if you're trying to build a company with strong social engagement, then as an exec, you must lead by example.
5 tricks for execs to build a following on social media
1. Be active.
Offer engaging, valuable or relevant industry information on a regular basis. An active presence is the only way to grow an audience and spread your message. Top brands publish at least once per day, and you should too.
2. Be authentic.
Tweet or post authentically, spreading your unique perspective and industry expertise in your own dialect. Think of this as talking to your friends – while adhering to company communications policies, of course.
3. Be positive.
While controversy is a surefire way to get attention, maintaining a positive online presence is generally the company duty of any exec. Unless it’s part of a carefully-crafted marketing scheme—and even then, the benefits of negative posts are debatable—avoid harsh takedowns.
4. Be focused.
When posting, be sure your message always resonates with your brand and broader objectives of the company. Save personal rants or offhand observations for texts to your friends.
5. Be aware.
Even if you delete a tweet or post, it can come back to bite you. Be aware that there are real-world consequences and business implications for your online activity. Develop a thoughtful and strategic approach, and remember that your customers, board and boss are watching.
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