BLR held a Marketing Summit last month in Denver. One of the speakers, Maddy Osman, held a talk entitled Tweet Like a CEO: Building Thought Leadership Using Social Media. Let’s explore the talk in depth.
There’s a national shortage in executives on social media—only 40% have any sort of online presence. Understandably, they’re busy with the day-to-day goings on of the companies they work at, but is that enough of an excuse to miss out on the opportunities they might be losing for the companies they work for?
There are three strong reasons to spend time on personal social media:
- To establish thought leadership in your industry
- To build industry relationships with influencers
- To help your company reach a new/greater audience, since personal social channels tend to have greater organic reach than business profiles
Of course, most executives already realize these things, but still aren’t doing anything about it. Perhaps the lack of action comes from a lack of energy to develop a strategy.
With that in mind, here’s an actionable guide to building thought leadership using social media:
Step 1: Find Inspiration from Social CEOs Who Are Killing It
Conversocial shares a list of the top 10 social CEOs to draw inspiration from if you’re just getting started with your own social efforts.
One of the most interesting case studies on this list is Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia. “Gary Vee” (as he likes to be called) practically has a duty to be active on social, since his company is deeply involved with social media promotion and ads management for top brands. As such, there are many lessons to be learned from efforts on his own channels.
Gary Vee is all about video—he applauds the use of video ads on social, has a video cover on FB, and constantly shares video snippets across all of his social networks. Some might say that he comes across as a little grating and super crass, but the fact remains that he’s good at being heard and is consistently true to his personal brand.
Step 2: Lead from The Top
According to Hootsuite, there’s a 40% increase in employee engagement as a direct correlation to CEO or executive engagement. As previously mentioned, personal profiles get better reach than those of their companies. An executive making an effort to post on their own social channels will encourage other employees to likewise do so, improving your company’s representation on social media.
Step 3: Choose One Social Platform & Rock It
Contently shares some interesting data specifically regarding how CEOs use social media: LinkedIn is the clear winner, followed by Facebook and Twitter. If you’re posting content as a public figure representing your company, it seems fair to focus on just LinkedIn and Twitter. But if you only have the time and energy for one, which do you choose?
As far as Twitter is concerned, the social network isn’t inherently B2B or B2C. This distinction opens up the possibilities to reaching all sorts of new people, which is no surprise, as Twitter is a very conversational network. It’s great for an executive who wants to have the opportunity to directly interact with stakeholders.
LinkedIn, however, is much more geared towards B2B. Even more compelling, 80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn. Besides the ability to create a profile and post updates, LinkedIn also has it’s own publishing platform to give your activity on the network additional reach.
CEO.com & Domo found that most social CEOs are on 2 platforms, making the adoption of both top options a great long-term goal.
Step 4: Give Yourself a Digital Makeover
Before you make a concerted effort to create content to boost your personal social media profiles, ask yourself: what do your profiles say about you? Two of the most important things to get right, regardless of the network, are your headshot and bio.
Your headshot should be:
- Consistent across your social networks
- Professional—no party pictures or weird crop jobs
- Bust and up
Your bio should:
- Answer the viewer’s “What’s in it for me?”
- Mention your company
- Make it easy for people to get in touch—include a visible email address in addition to whatever contact options the social network provides
Step 5: Make Friends in High Places
The road to thought leadership is paved with industry influencers, so you’ll need to create a strategy to gain favor with them. As an executive, they won’t be hard to befriend, as you’d also be considered a person of influence to them.
Here’s a basic process for making influential friends on social:
- Make a list of people who have influence in your niche
- Start a conversation with each one
- Periodically like and share their content
- Repeat as long as necessary to invoke the principle of reciprocity
BLR’s Marketing Summit is an ongoing event with many sessions that explore topics like building thought leadership with social media given by experts like Gary Vaynerchuck. Learn more here, and maybe we’ll see you in Boston next April or in Austin next November.