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Are CEO's social?

22/02/16 Andy Raymond Director, Redline Executive

Is there still a fear in showing the personal ‘human side’ of a company’s’ CEO?

Social media has become a vital tool for CEOs in the technology arena to better engage and connect with their key stakeholders. It is an opportunity to enhance the reputations of their company. However, research suggests that individuals at Director & ‘C’ level still only ‘dip their toes’ in the sea of social media platforms, with Linked-In being the most active.

In many cases, digital communication and building an online presence is left to the marketing team within an organisation. This shows the CEO is still communicating with their audience, but it can also be obvious to their social audience that the interactions are fabricated. It is becoming more and more valuable for CEOs to step up to social media themselves.

With over 30 years’ experience with working with Technology and Engineering leaders, it is still evident to Redline there is an ingrained fear of what the implications are with leaders engaging with their audience on social media. There is increased awareness of how a company’s reputation could be damaged by articulating the wrong message. However, the public are more likely to treat the words of the CEO as more trustworthy than those of a faceless marketing employee running the business’s social mouth. Furthermore, a more genuine and transparent representation for the brand is developed, which in time lends to credibility.

While CEOs have essentially maintained their social presence in the last few years, there are great prospects in 2016. Not only will social participation garner significant customer loyalty, it is an opportunity to nurture the future of their company by attracting and recognising top talent. It is clear to say that CEOs who are not afraid to embrace the power of social media will have a significant competitive edge.

Only recently, a seasoned business leader that I have known for many years called me to say “Do you know company ‘xxxx’? They have a new CEO. I have admired him for some time and I would like to work for an organisation he is leading. Can you get me in front of him?” The CEOs brand and reputation was more important than the brand and reputation of the business he was taking leadership of.

As digital research becomes both easier to accomplish and more sophisticated in it's capabilities, your customers are just a click away from your competition.

Ultimately, a CEO brand is simply a straighter line to increasing top-line revenue because a well known CEO gets access to more deal flow and brings greater revenue. This is accomplished through the process of getting the right message directly in front of the target audience by using a strategic blend of social media presence, seminar and guest speaking engagements, award ceremonies and savvy PR.

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