With hashtags dominating advertising and the fresh addition of “selfie” to the Oxford English Dictionary, it’s most likely not surprising to listen to that 74 percent of American adults use social-networking sites. What may surprise you, however, is that just 32 percent of today’s Fortune 500 CEOs engage on social media. The rest of the 68 percent haven’t any social presence at all: no Twitter, no LinkedIn, no Facebook. Nothing. What’s going on here, CEOs?
There is, of course, this factor. Most CEOs have a tendency to be older, and social engagement will not come as naturally with their generation since it does for his or her millennial counterparts. Additionally, doing social media right takes a time commitment, which poses a challenge for busy executives –regardless old. Many CEOs could also feel anxious about revealing themselves publicly and finding yourself in the doghouse if indeed they say or post the incorrect thing. Or it could just drop to ego as CEOs are accustomed to wielding power of their organizations but gaining influence on social media requires them to start out from scratch.
There are many known reasons for Fortune 500 CEOs never to be on social media, but also for CEOs who would like to build competitive businesses with all-star teams and resilient brands, social engagement is crucial.
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Here’s how social media can buoy your business – and just why you need to can get on board at this time.
Whether you work in finance, education or technology, staying up-to-date on the news headlines, trends and leaders in your market is paramount. It used to be that getting these details required scanning through your paper copy of The Wall Street Journal or THE BRAND NEW York Times to find relevant news and op-eds. Today, we’ve a considerably faster, more targeted way to get news: Twitter. While this involves some time upfront with regard to choosing the best publications, journalists and influencers to check out, it ultimately offers you a curated blast of headlines you could browse while sipping your morning coffee. Plus, when you visit a headline that grabs your attention, you can merely retweet it to talk about the news together with your network.
For leaders of large organizations, it really is difficult to devote time to learning each employee and establish strong relationships with those beyond your immediate team. Social is proving to become a powerful tool in this regard. At a company event? Instagram a go of the team. Read an excellent company blog authored by a colleague? Tweet it out and tag her. Want feedback on holiday policies? Pose a question on Yammer. Come across an excellent article you want employees to learn? Share it on LinkedIn and inform them to check on it out. It’s not only about sharing, either. By following your employees on Twitter and other social outlets, you’ll gain insights about how exactly they collaborate, what issues they value and how they support each other.
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Headhunters better look out. With LinkedIn, CEOs have the world’s best recruitment tool at their fingertips. Building out your professional social networking gives you the opportunity to reconnect with old colleagues, classmates and partners — the types of individuals who might easily know the perfect candidate for that position you’ve desperately been trying to fill. Similarly, when you are along the way of evaluating an applicant, you can travel to her LinkedIn profile to see when you have any connections in keeping, and if so, get in touch with them as unofficial references. On the other hand, should you be eyeing an applicant on LinkedIn and so are hoping to recruit her, simply seeing whom you understand in common could be a great first rung on the ladder.
CEOs with strong social presence might help establish positive company culture and build dynamic brands. Just look at Richard Branson. The very best executive at Virgin uses Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to showcase his distinct leadership style and celebrate his company’s values, people and achievements. He embodies the Virgin brand, and in doing this supports the company’s overall social engagement, customer loyalty and sales efforts. Being active on social also gives him the chance to get before crises, like the recent Virgin Galactic crash tragedy. Soon after the crash happened, Branson took to Twitter to thank the city because of its support and let his followers know he was going to Mojave to become listed on the team. As the CEO, you are essentially the voice of your company. If you’re not on social media, the complete brand suffers.
While taking the social media plunge certainly includes its risks, the business enterprise benefits are simply too big to ignore. Company leaders must recognize that embracing social isn’t nearly telling the world what cereal you’re eating or sharing selfies from your own morning commute. It’s about extending your leadership onto new platforms which means that your company can reap the huge benefits. Go share, go connect, & most importantly, go listen.
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