According to an Influential Executive February 2019 study, 54% of Fortune 500 CEOs have at least some social media presence. Half of the CEOs studied have a LinkedIn profile. Only 14% had a publicly searchable Twitter profile. Less than 1% had an Instagram or YouTube profile.
Why Tap into Social Media?
Social media has potential to be a broadcast channel and a branding vehicle. Executives active on social media and with appropriate strategic messaging create an image of a modern, accessible, and transparent leader. In an era of heightened skepticism in corporate and political leaders, improving messaging is critical. Using messaging that is a direct line from the CEO can increase customers’ confidence in a company. The power of the tweet on Twitter or post in LinkedIn goes both ways. An ill-considered tweet can cost your job or cause your company’s stock price to drop.
Social Media Mix
Let’s say you are not a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, what mix of social media is right for you? All active professionals, from junior analysts through CEOs, should be on LinkedIn at a minimum. A professional profile on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook will be right for some, but not everyone.
Select the appropriate social media outlets. You don’t need to be active on all platforms. Instead focus on the ones that are most effective for your situation. Visually driven content is well suited for Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Text-driven content works well on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Your target audience demographics can guide your decision. For example, Instagram and Snapchat have a younger demographic. Pinterest is used more heavily by women. Frequency of engagement is important too. Facebook has a high frequency of engagement rate and YouTube has a lower frequency of engagement rate.
If you seek to be an influencer or you are the face of your company, social media is essential. Plan to spend a minimum of an hour daily on social media. Engaging with your audience means encouraging comments, replying to comments, and tagging others. Timeliness is important so strive to reply within 24 hours. When executives are highly active on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, they are building the corporate brand as well as their personal brand. Consider using staff support for the management of your social media schedule, strategy, and content curation, but don’t give up control of your personal accounts’ actual tweets, likes, shares, and snaps. Beyond a privacy concern, there is the matter of someone else having the power to misuse your social media voice.
Social Media Management Tools
If you are planning a dive into social media, consider the many options for social management tools. These are a few of the functions driven by management tools: scheduling, monitoring, content curation, automatic posting, analysis, and reporting. Many people post and hope for the best. If you are going to commit your time and expose your brand on social media, it is important that you leverage tools to optimize your social media operations and base your social media choices on analysis.
Goals Before Strategy
Determine your goals. Potential goals are building a community, increasing brand awareness, driving traffic to a blog or website, promoting an issue, lead generation, sales, and enhancing customer loyalty.
One of the biggest reasons people are not active on social media is a lack of inspiration for content. Consider these ideas for content.
LinkedIn: Industry news, job postings, upcoming and past events, educational articles, announcements, and product news. Options for posts as well as long form articles.
Twitter: Announcements, product releases, articles, event news, awards, and links to photos and videos.
Facebook: Photos, quotes, company news, surveys, special offers, event updates, Facebook live interactive events, invitations to events, and videos.
Pinterest: Product photos, infographics, videos, quotes, and memes.
If you commit to a smart social media strategy, you’ll be able to lead the narrative on topics important to you and your company. It will help you to build your brand and engage with your target audience. You’ll also benefit from the immediacy of information, such as industry trends in real time. If you are ready to launch social media presence, check out these links for basic instructions: https://media.twitter.com/en_us/twitter-basics.html, https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/45, https://www.facebook.com/business/pages, https://business.instagram.com/getting-started, and https://business.pinterest.com/.