The Cure for CEO Social Media-itis
A lot has been said about CEOs and Social Media. But few postings we have seen are as to-the-point and informative as Joshua Steimle's column on Forbes.com, The Anti-Social CEO’s Guide to Social Media.
Steimle reduces his argument to three key elements: Do It, Do It Yourself, and Do It Now. His last point? If as CEO you have to stop and think about it for too long, you won't succeed when you do eventually try social media. As he admonishes, "You and I both know that's code for 'I don’t want to admit to myself that I'm scared to do this, afraid I'll look like an idiot, and so I'm going to use the excuse of being too busy and put it off indefinitely, hopefully forever.'"
Steimle refers procrastinators to social media guru Arik Hanson's well-known 10 Business Cases for CEOs to Use Social Media blog item. A human face, a sense of transparency, staying in touch with the customer without corporate filters, and simple brand extension are among Hanson's most persuasive points for CEO involvement in social media.
At CommCore, we would add another suggestion – find two or three CEOs in your business sector who DO post regularly and follow them for a while. If you find yourself wishing you could engage in the conversation then you're likely ready to initiate your own. A good place to start is LinkedIn's 2013 ranking of the Top 60 CEOs on Social Media
We also tell our C-Suite clients to discuss their potential excursion into online conversations with their communications team, marketing department and legal counsel to make sure they are clear on corporate brand goals and any regulatory restrictions on what can be disclosed to the public. But don't hand off the postings to a surrogate; the world of social media is good at sniffing out phonies, and as CEO you won't learn anything if all that's online is your title and your name.