At a time when the demand for business transparency is greater than ever—especially on social—smart businesses know that building a trusted brand must be a company-wide effort. And that means having active CEOs on social media.
Research indicates that people define transparency as being open, clear and honest. Employees often look to executive leadership to be a living example of how that actually manifests for their business.
And they’re not the only ones.
CEOs with personal profiles seem more approachable, accessible, human, honest and trustworthy. Just look at the data: According to the Sprout Social Brands Get Real report on transparency, 63% of people say CEOs who have social profiles are better representatives for their companies than those who do not.
You already know how important executive presence is on social media. But if you haven’t updated the executive communications strategy to fit this type of transparency, it’s time to get to work.
In this guide, we’ve compiled some of the best CEOs on social media and how they use their platforms. Learn how you can apply their methods to your executive social strategy to shift your executives’ presence from personal, to a powerful brand advocacy tool.
For a shortcut to leveling up your c-suite’s social presence and impact, check out our executive communications article.
An executive speaking up in the right way during a crisis can mean the difference between building brand image and empathy, and fueling the fire by coming across as apathetic with silence.
At Walmart, the executive voice and channels are a key piece of crisis communications. CEO Doug McMillon—notorious for his engaged LinkedIn presence—took to social during Hurricane Ian to pledge relief efforts made by his company.
This is a shining example of how a CEO can express empathy while also putting words into action and embodying the values and actions he posts about.
But of course, the elephant in the room is when a brand crisis occurs.
Your CEO’s voice and, most importantly, transparency, is a pivotal part of your crisis management. After all, according to our Brands Get Real report, 85% of people say a business can regain their trust if it admits to a mistake, and is transparent about the steps it will take to resolve the issue.
Social media provides a space where CEOs can directly share their response with their audience. And when a CEO gets it right, this can earn them praise in the press.
Takeaways for executives and social teams
No business is completely safe from facing public backlash in the wake of an unpopular decision or controversial event, and social media is a key place to get ahead of the conversation.
But there is immense business value in transparency. Our research found that 38% of consumers say a CEO’s transparency on social would inspire them to show a brand more loyalty, and 32% would purchase more from that business.
Then there’s the fact that 22% say a CEO’s transparency on social would positively influence their interest in working at his or her company.
So not only does an executive social presence lead to more purchases, it can also help boost interest in career opportunities at the company and improve corporate reputation—all leading to a real, significant financial impact on the business.
But the fear of saying the wrong thing is understandable. Working with your CEO on a crisis management strategy for their social channels and your larger strategy alleviates uncertainty—for your social team and your executives—if a brand crisis ever needs to be addressed.
If your CEO really wants to see some progress, set up social listening tools so they—or you—can monitor what people are saying about them and your company.
Listening and sentiment analysis are two great methods for “measuring” or evaluating reputation. If their efforts on social are being noticed, chances are someone somewhere is talking about it.
Social monitoring and listening tools can also help you and your CEO identify potential product issues or watchouts, and address them faster.
At the end of the day, CEOs need to see that their efforts on social are paying off. What they really want is data that proves measurable success.
Establish a reporting cadence to help your CEO visualize the value they’re providing the organization with their commitment to social.
Some key metrics you might track include:
- Engagement to identify what types of posts are resonating with their audience.
- Reach to see the full impact of their posts.
- Traffic from their posts, to see how many clicks to the company website are being driven by their content.
- Increase in likes/followers on your CEO’s personal profile, as well as your business’. The more people you can bring into your inner circle, the better the chances they’ll become customers.
- Earned media. If their articles become newsworthy (in a positive way), highlight this. Sprout’s employee advocacy platform calculates earned media value from employee-shared content automatically.
Using a reporting platform, like Sprout’s reporting and analytics tools, will make it easier for you to organize your data and present findings with pre-made graphs and data visualizations.
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