5 Reasons Executives Should Not Be Afraid to Cultivate Their Social Media Presence

Social media may be ubiquitous these days, but for busy corporate executives, it seems to be something to avoid. In fact, over 60% of Fortune 500 executives eschew social media use altogether.

There’s no question that social media use presents several challenges to busy executives and CEOs. Those challenges include:

  • A significant time investment and resulting impediments to personal productivity
  • A perceived lack of ROI, especially when the executive could be performing other, more traditional high-level tasks that help create
  • The perception of social media as a cesspool of outrage and cheap gossip, leaving many executives to fail to see any value or benefit in their direct participation
  • Potential exposure that may be created by off-the-cuff, unguarded comments, which may present legal, political, business, and personal risks

However, these same risks are inherent in multiple activities that executives engage in, activities that are perceived as yielding higher value and benefit to businesses and brands.

As it turns out, the benefits from strategic CEO and executive use of social media outweigh the risks, as long as that use takes place within strategic parameters and guidelines that support corporate goals and interests.

Here are five excellent reasons why business executives should be active on social media:

1. The Executive Perspective Is Unique

Every company and brand has a story. Origin stories, stories about lean early years, success stories about clients and customers—company executives have a unique viewpoint on all these stories. And these are often stories that only executives can tell, especially on social media. These are also usually the most compelling stories, ones that emotionally resonate with prospective customers on social media. They need to be told.

Sharing those stories with a self-selected audience of followers—people who want to hear from you and your brand—helps build brand awareness and attracts new prospects into your marketing funnel. It also creates a particular kind of transparency that is attractive to the right people.

2. The Executive Voice Attracts Top Talent

To succeed, your company needs the best possible talent. And as the executive face of your company, you represent it not only to customers and prospects but also to potential future hires. What factors will persuade the best in their fields to want to work for your business, instead of for your competitors?

Certainly, many such factors exist—compensation, benefits, culture, and more—but among those factors is a vaguely defined ‘X’ factor. Part reputation, part brand “personality, part vision, this indefinable quality means different things to different people. But, it often comes down to something quite basic: How badly prospective hires want to work with and for you, the CEO, the company’s leader. 

Being active on social media gives your personality, work ethic, and enthusiasm for your own company’s product a chance to take center stage. As a result, social media can draw top job prospects who’ll be best suited to join your team and fit into your organization effortlessly—and enthusiastically.

3. Social Media Is a Direct Line to Your Prospects

The most engaging executives on social media are the ones who recognize this salient point: The shortest path to your customer’s heart is a straight line.

You can use any social media account to connect directly with your customers, prospects, and targeted users, as well as with colleagues and partners. Do you want to know what they’re thinking about your vision for your industry and the products or services you provide? Ask them. They’ll absolutely tell you.

Moreover, if you respond to those who are kind enough to answer you, you’ll build trust and goodwill. This trust will extend to your company as well. Adding to your company’s intangible assets makes you a more effective and valuable CEO.

4. A Strong Executive Presence on Social Helps Steer the Ship in a Crisis

Crisis management should never be the overriding objective of any social media use. After all, if your company solely engages with followers and fans in times of crisis, it’s already working at a disadvantage. Establishing executive presence on social media and a pattern of regular use helps the company when a crisis does occur, because it’s easier to communicate the corporate message through an active profile.

An active executive account with a strong following means you have a ready-made channel and an interested audience ready to listen to what you have to say on your company’s behalf—especially when it’s time to right a wrong. This inevitably strengthens the message and helps it land more effectively. Your crisis playbook should always include social.

5. It’s What Your Customers Want and Expect

Last, but far from least, consider this: your customers and clients want to hear from the corporation’s leaders. In fact, 90% of consumers want and expect transparency from the companies with which they do business. Many will stop buying from companies that don’t deliver that transparency. Strategic social media use by engaged executives helps demonstrate your corporate commitment to authenticity and ethical conduct.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Social

Without question, social media can turn into a time-wasting activity that can serve as a catalyst for corporate missteps. For that reason, clear, cogent guidelines should be drafted for social media use by all executives and company officers. Those guidelines should rest on a strong strategic foundation that addresses the company’s goals and objectives, serving the need to be transparent while also being mindful of legal and regulatory obligations and interests. Within those parameters, executive social media accounts can boost brand awareness, corporate goodwill, customer engagement, and lead conversion.

For examples of top executives—from GM, Apple, 23andME, and others—who have mastered social media and are delivering results for their companies, read our latest ebook on social media for execs.

Driving brand promotion through social media

It’s no secret that social media channels are one of the most powerful promotional tools available to modern marketers. Whether using social media monitoring to pick up on customer service issues or using Facebook ads to put your brand in front of consumers, social media channels have become a core part of doing business.

In fact, with the right approach, any product or service can gain popularity using this form of comms channel. Following these steps can also help set yourselves up for brand promotion success.

1. Create a strategy

The first and most important step of brand promotion is to create a social media strategy. This will include defining your target audience and figuring out what social media sites they’re using. Spend some time determining what weighs on their mind and figure out what content can be created to cater for such needs or wants. This is also the stage at which KPIs – key performance indicators, will be set. For example, “increase website traffic from social networking sites by 75% within the next six months.”

2. Work with influencers

Influencers are those people within the industry who are setting the trends and stimulating the conversation. By working with influencers in your industry, you can tap into their existing and loyal audiences and get honest feedback about your product or service from the people who use it. Influencers also add a sense of authenticity as well as credibility to your brand. This will help aid brand promotion.

3. Paid advertising

Social media advertising budgets have doubled worldwide over the last few years, hitting $31 billion in 2016. With organic reach so low, using social media channels without running advertisements is a waste of time. Small businesses often reach hundreds of times as many people with a relatively small budget. At the very least, it’s worth setting some budget aside to dip your toes in the water.

4. Engage the audience

Step 4 for brand engagement is engaging your audience! There’s no point in maintaining a social media presence if no one is listening. That’s why you’ll need to use campaigns, competitions, discussions and more to get people talking. Use a social media monitoring tool, such as Meltwater, to find out what already has them talking – whether that’s infographics, YouTube shows or blog posts – then apply what you’ve learned into your own strategy.

5. Ask for feedback

The final brand engagement tip is ask for feedback! The great advantage of social networking is that it’s a two-way conversation. That means brands can solicit feedback from customers by asking questions, posting surveys, using social media monitoring techniques to identify common problems and simply reading what people say when they comment on updates. Of course, asking for feedback is all well and good –but it won’t achieve much unless we act upon what we’ve learned.

Ultimately, the best way to get started with social networking sites is to jump straight in. Getting the foundations right is like checking the route before heading out on a road trip, but you’ll still need to put in the hours and check directions from time to time.

You can use tools like ours to assist with social media monitoring. Follow relevant influencers and start contributing to the conversation. Stay respectful and focus on adding value – not trying to score direct sales. Your social media presence will be a success in no time.

Use these 5 tips to help you with brand promotion! 

A version of this article originally appeared on our UK blog.

Did You Know there are On-Screen Tutorials?

Our client support receives thousands of questions every month. In order to help be more efficient, our team has been hard at work creating product tutorials that will help answer some of our most commonly asked questions. You might have already seen the in-app tutorials for new feature launches like the one below, but now we are taking them one step further!

Our new product tutorials will walk our clients through each step, which will make our clients make the most of their software!

Where can you find the tutorials? We’ve added a section in our in-app Help Center so you can easily access all of our tutorials along with a number of helpful tools! You can also find links to product tutorials in the articles in our Help Center. 

We are continuing to update our Help Center articles and tutorials to benefit our clients! Log into our app and check out all of the current tutorials, with many more to come.

Women’s World Cup 2019: Social Media Analysis

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On 7 July 2019, the rumble of 60,000 excited fans echoed through the stands of the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Lyon, France. They were eagerly anticipating the final showdown to the electrifying campaign that was the Women’s World Cup 2019. Just in the USA alone, another 14.3 million viewers tuned in to the game through their screens. The USA Women’s Football team clinched their fourth Women’s World Cup championship title after a convincing 2-0 victory over the Netherlands that evening – with goals from a penalty taken by Megan Rapinoe and an absolute screamer of a left-footed shot by Rose Lavelle. The team have now returned to their fans back home to celebrate their victory, but their mission to grow the sport is far from over. 

For years, Women’s football has always lived in the shadow of their male counterparts. With a disproportionate amount of tournament prize money going to the male sport and lack of investment to the sport, female footballers are facing huge challenges. But the toughest and longest battle is the one for equal pay. In 2016, the first significant step was made to correct this wrong when five senior US national football players filed a wage-discrimination action to demand equal pay. Since then, the movement has only gained momentum and the Women’s World Cup this year was the turning point. 

 

From a spark to a blaze

There was something different in the air this World Cup compared to the last. No longer were the US team regarded as the Goliath of the football scene trampling on the other teams that came their way. While they remained the strongest contender, they were faced with formidable opposition, advancing the competition by narrowly defeating their challengers with slim single goal margins on multiple occasions. The quality of football improved drastically across the board and this resulted in more thrilling clashes. People – both fans and journalists – shared their excitement online. This World Cup saw a staggering increase of 16K news mentions from the 2015 World Cup and a total of 46.65 million social media mentions across social platforms like Twitter, forums, blogs, Tumblr and Facebook. From controversial calls by referees to heated discussions over the behaviour of the footballers, the digital world was abuzz with chatter this season – a sign of the growing popularity that Women’s Football is garnering.

Now let’s take a look at some of the most talked-about moments of this campaign: 

womens-world-cup-media-mentions-2019

 

A question of sportsmanship

The opening two weeks of the campaign saw a total of 930K mentions on social media, but online conversations only started gaining traction after the match between the USA and Thailand. The US National team were met with huge criticism online for their lack of sportsmanship when they defeated the Thais with a 13-0 thrashing. Critics were unhappy with the team’s unrelenting pursuit for goals despite an already huge margin, and how vehemently they celebrated after they scored each one. The US team defended back saying that going easy against their opponent is a greater sign of disrespect. This event also sparked a wider discussion of double standards imposed on male and female football and the lack of investments channelled towards female football teams in regions outside the US.

 

Fanning the flames: Megan Rapinoe

Many have said that this World Cup was more than just a matter of football. It was a stage to advocate for relevant social issues like institutionalised gender inequality and gay rights. Blazing the trail was the US National Team’s co-captain Megan Rapinoe. 

Source: Time.com 

Throughout the campaign, Rapinoe was unapologetically candid in her interviews. Her big personality caused quite a controversy when she boldly claimed that she would never visit the White House. She was never shy to express her disdain towards President Trump for his divisive and non-inclusive policies and statements. This triggered an entire series of tweets by the President himself about how Rapinoe has been disrespectful to the country. People on the Internet began taking sides, as with all issues linked to American politics, and out of the 860K social mentions about the World Cup that week, 250K of them were in relation to Rapinoe’s comment.

Rapinoe has also been extremely vocal about the inequality women face in sports. She has been leading the conversation for equal pay and prize money and has become the face of the movement. When FIFA scheduled two other finals involving US teams at the same time as the World Cup finals between USA and Netherlands, Rapinoe unabashedly called the officials out for their bad management – a reflection of their lack of regard for the sport.  

 

Spilling the tea

The final week of the World Cup campaign garnered a grand total of 720K social mentions. While the finals between the US and the Netherlands was the biggest game of the season, the semi-finals match between the US and England generated the most chatter online. The match was highly anticipated with many believing that if the US were to be toppled, the Lionesses were to be their undoing. But topple them they did not, and the US emerged victorious with a narrow 2-1 win. However, what sparked the most online conversation was Alex Morgan’s cheeky goal celebration – she pretended to sip tea in front of the English supporters. This moment alone drew over 210K mentions on social media. 

Source: Glamour.com

Viewers who took offence at this gesture began to air their criticisms online. English personality Piers Morgan condemned her celebration as “bordering on a declaration of war” between the two nations. 

Again, the conversation was directed back to the issue of double standards between men and women in sports. Alex Morgan responded to her critics with examples of male footballers celebrating their goal with a bit of jest like grabbing their sacks or flashing the “L” hand sign (implying the word “loser”). Yet viewers often give them a pass or sometimes even embrace them. It seems that people are harsher and more critical of the actions made by female footballers than their male counterparts. 

Women’s Football – More than just a game

The defining moments of the Women’s World Cup campaign simply shone a light on the injustice endured by the football community and the wider society at large. Though participating nations have gone home and the hype has died down, the important conversations sparked during its course continue to burn brightly. Leading the charge are the female footballers themselves, who have been tirelessly fighting for greater recognition for years. The difference after this World Cup? People are finally listening.

 

To learn more about how you can uncover insights about your campaign from external data, click here!

 

 

Risk and Reputation Management the Hot Topic at Press Lounge Gathering

A lively panel discussion moderated by Meltwater’s Dino Delic at New York City’s Press Lounge in May yielded valuable insights from a handful of business communication leaders. Panelists included Emily Scarlett, communications head at clothing retailer H&M USA; Craig Carroll, founder and executive director at the Observatory on Corporate Reputation (The OCR); and Christel Ghattas, a corporate communicator at the media and entertainment provider Discovery, Inc. The discussion centered on best practices around risk and crisis management, as panelists spoke to issues introduced by Delic and answered questions from the audience.

The panel agreed that the best way to manage a crisis is to be open and authentic, and quickly explain what can and will be done to rectify a situation. Adhering to the company’s professed values is important. Even so, there will be some occasions where the best response is not to issue a statement at all, but to work quietly behind the scenes to resolve the issue. This includes scenarios where the perceived offense is negligible and the company has it in its control to apply a remedy.

Several of the discussion topics and the conclusions they inspired follow.

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Authenticity is key to navigating a crisis, so tell the same story everywhere you operate.

Companies using the same name around the world can’t afford to be chameleons. Letting people know what your brand stands for earns you goodwill and trust and provides you with signposts on how to operate in times of challenge. If you profess to be all about people, decision-making should always put people first. Tell a consistent story. One panelist said her company prioritized moving from social media channels operating independently in multiple countries to a model ensuring greater consistency and control of the narrative. “There are so many moving parts, but our employee in India should have a good idea what our employee in Sweden will be saying.”

Everyone owns reputation management, so familiarize employees with your corporate values from day one.

The CEO is typically the face of the company and may be flanked by internal communication leaders in times of crisis, but every company with public-facing employees has an opportunity to demonstrate the company’s values in its day-to-day operations. The panelists agreed that there’s strength in numbers. Employee engagement is almost inevitable in the age of social media, so communicate regularly with employees about expectations and positive behavior. A solid grounding in the corporate values goes a long way toward investing trust in your workforce.

Use every available resource to gather and act on your information.

Panelists agreed that effective crisis management depends on allowing cooler heads to prevail. This means getting people on the line who know what actually happened, gathering the facts, and coordinating with your team to go public. Fulltime 24/7 monitoring of social and traditional channels allows you to follow any unexpected turns in messaging, along with their context. The more tools you have to work with, the better. One panelist remarked, “They say it takes 20 years to build a reputation and three seconds to lose it, and that’s a fact.” Another panelist notes that people’s memories are short today, and sometimes we can over-respond to a reputation issue. “We’re more invested in our reputations than all of our stakeholders are. Sometimes we can over-respond a little bit.”

Given its immediacy, social media can be your greatest ally in a time of crisis.

Waking up and finding your company in the spotlight for an incriminating photo could ruin most PR pros’ weekends. Rather than watch the situation spiral out of control, one panelist spoke of using social media to track down the photograph’s source. Buried beneath 500 tweets she found her answer. Social media not only allowed her to communicate that the company was looking into the matter, it later enabled her to explain the story behind the photo, part of an exposé the company was preparing for broadcast. Everything happened in a matter of hours. As one audience member observed, “Social media isn’t always the devil. It can also be really powerful from an advocacy standpoint.”

Media monitoring not only identifies vulnerabilities, it often guides you toward solutions.

To learn what you’re doing wrong, just look to Twitter. One panelist recalled how criticism of their fitting-room mirrors was a frequent topic of conversation. The solution was easy enough, but it took social media to bring it to the company’s attention. “Rather than perceive the criticism as solely a knock on the brand,” she said, “we looked at this as an opportunity to show our customers that we were listening and were willing to make things better for them.”

Look to create real value with your media reporting, and report in real time.

Finding ways to extract value out of your information-gathering practices and using the information in real time can keep a small issue from blowing up into a crisis. “Real-time insights that can affect decision-making are more valuable than a beautiful report afterward explaining how well you did,” said one panelist. Another panelist warned against overreacting and over-communicating. While intuition often plays a key role here, the best decisions are typically grounded in facts and supporting data.

For further insight into risk and reputation management, you can download our ebook on the topic.