How present should a CEO/CMO be on social media?

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: there’s no simple answer to this question. So, if you came here hoping for silver bullets, fairy dust or magic beans, you may be disappointed. What we can offer, however, is a little advice and three key takeaways.

If you’re a business leader that’s ever wondered ‘how active should I be on social media?’ there’s every chance you’ll have Googled the question.

The results bring up story after story telling you the best CEO is a social one, that everybody wants to work for a leader who is a social media rock star, but that only 40% of top CEOs are actually active on social.

But when it comes to finding reasons why your business leader ought to be on social – and what they should actually be doing there – then Google becomes a little less helpful. So we’ve stepped in to give a little guidance to those very pertinent questions.

Should I even bother?

The short answer is yes.

Here’s a statistic that often gets widely shared: only 48% of S&P 500 and FTSE 350 CEOs are active on social media.

That stat is sometimes followed with the observation that 52% of these leaders are therefore missing opportunities by not being on social.

We’ll never know if that’s true, of course. But if you have customers, they are on social media. If you have competitors, they are likely to be there too. And you do have both customers and competitors, right? So why wouldn’t you make sure you can be found where they congregate?

Maybe because you’re worried you might get it wrong.

Takeaway →  It’s reasonable to worry about getting it wrong. But this can be overcome with the right approach and a solid strategy.

How hard is getting it right?

Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the past few years, you’ll be only too aware of the controversy routinely sparked by the tweets of US President Donald Trump.

While his many millions of supporters at home and abroad seem to love it, his Twitter activity often seems to beg the question ‘to what extent are his actions showing the US in its best light?’ It’s a divisive subject and an admittedly extreme example of how social media can be used.

For better or worse, most business leaders will never garner the kind of attention Trump attracts. Unless they say or do something terrible, that is.

But they still need to be the very best representative of their business. If they’re enigmatic in person yet too safe or a bit dull online, is their social media presence likely to be helping?

Takeaway →  Knowing what to say and when to say it can be daunting. But developing a social media strategy that’s pegged to your business strategy is a good place to start.

A relentless sense of direction

The best leaders always know where they are going. In business terms that translates to having a clear sense of purpose and a tenacious pursuit of progress. Furthermore, they stay true to who they are in everything they do.

In short, they are authentic.

Translating that online is no mean feat. You can’t just arrive on Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Instagram and expect that everyone will hang off your every word.

You have to put the hours in: be useful, engaged and engaging, and visible.

Takeaway →  Don’t try to be someone or something you’re not. If there’s one thing you simply have to nail where social media is concerned it’s being authentic.

Being active on social can make many leaders feel too exposed. But having a solid plan and maintaining a consistent and authentic persona that acts as a bridge between your business and your customers can assuage those fears.

Sean Fleming - Senior Writer, Formative Content
Author:Sean Fleming - Senior Writer, Formative Content