Today, leading a team, an organization, a company, transcends the walls of our offices.
Today, executive leadership has an opportunity to influence and shape how the marketplace perceives your organization, evaluates your organization and selects your offerings like never before.
Today, the executive “voice” is more important than ever before – you are your brand, and as a senior leader for your organization, you are your company’s brand – leverage that.
What I want to highlight here, is the importance of being intentional and thoughtful so that you can make not only a big impact, but the right impact.
A great quote I recently heard that I think says it all from a VP of IT from Cisco….
Given that a single twitter post can have a larger net impact than a $50,000 full-page newspaper ad placement, here are 5 key principles I might offer as an executive guide to social media engagement.
(1) Do it yourself (but have an ‘editor’ to start). It’s important to draft your own content. Nothing is more obvious than ghost-written content. Do not have junior staff members or interns draft your content – this only weakens your credibility and conveys negative perception of the brand you represent. Unless you do it yourself, you are are better off not doing it at all.
Tip – While you come up to speed, gaining skill and facility with the medium, it can be a good backstop measure to ensure to appoint someone on your team to review your posts as a quick check-point, ensuring you are best crafting your brand and representing your company.
(2) Be authentic. Write in your own style and voice. Along the lines of ghost writers, readers can generally see right through generic content that has been copied and pasted. If you post something, and someone just saw the exact same post from someone else… your perceived credibility goes down several notches. Recommend that you start with a key point and then write your version of it, in your style and voice. This builds credibility and trust and perceived value for your audience. Don’t be afraid to express an opinion; having a perspective creates interest and trust. People want to know what you think about a particular topic.
Tip – Include phrases and words you use when you talk with your company face-to-face. Do you use analogies, do you tell stories, do you like to cite data and studies? What’s your style?
(3) Provide thought leadership. Here is where you can really drive impact. What perspectives can you share, what insights can you give, what’s your take on what’s happening in the marketplace? Thought leadership is how you can differentiate yourself and your company in the marketplace – to the media, to analyst influencers, to partners, to clients. People want to know your views.
Tip – Use industry news and announcements as opportunities to take a stand and share an informed educated thoughtful perspective on what your clients or partners should do.
(4) Listen. As an executive, you will have people’s attention. If you offer authentic views, information and perspectives, people will likely respond with comments, retweets and reactions. Use your social tools to listen and reflect. This is where you can gain incredible insights from your audience. This is where you are likely to get the ah-ha moments.
Tip – Setup things like Alerts in Google or Streams in Hootsuite to make your ‘listening’ more efficient.
(5) Have fun. Social media is like interacting with people face-to-face at an event, it’s just virtual. You can still build and extend relationships, incorporate appropriate humor and have real discussion with real people. Social media is not about just posting… it’s about open dialog, sharing, listening, collaborating.
Tip – Talk about ‘social media’ engagement with your executive colleagues. Social media can provide for great conversation starters in your face-to-face meetings, calls and speaking engagements.