Executive Usage of Social Media

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As part one of our series on executives and media usage, we will explore some of the challenges and advantages of executives using social media. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, are all social media outlets that are used to promote or increase brand exposure, which can have positive and negative effects.

Allen Morrison, Professor of Global Strategy and Leadership at Thunderbird School of Global Management and CEO and Director General at Arizona State University, has conducted research on some of the challenges executives face with social media; company reputations can be tarnished, misinformation can be spread like wildfire.  He came up with some conclusions and a number of recommendations.

First, the general public is looking for transparency in business through social media. In 2018, over 3.2 billion people regularly accessed social media. This can be used to engage specific audiences, especially Millennials and GenZ. Also, there are some great challenges that come along with the exposure and instant availability of information that social media offers. Here are four recommendations for CEOs and how they should engage with social media:

* Set clear objectives

* Build competencies for short-term challenges and long-term positioning 

* Broaden your perspective

* Start with your employees

Falk Rehkopf, Chief Marketing Officer of Ubermetrics Technologies, wrote an interesting article that highlights the importance of executives embracing social media and the concept of the Social CEO (CEOs with two or more social accounts). A report written by Ruder-Finn in 2017 states that 50% of high-performing CEOs have two or more accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter) vs. only 28% of low-performing CEOs, while 72% of low-performing CEOs had zero or one accounts. CEOs can leverage their social media accounts to build their brands and reach a larger audience.

Rehkopf suggests that CEOs can use social media to benefit their businesses in many ways:

* Recruiting talent – Social media can be effective in the hiring process. Recruiters use social media to keep track of high-potential executives for when the company needs to hire.

* Keeping current – Social media helps keep executives current on industry trends in real time.

* Connecting with employees – gathering insight both within the company and outside.

Rehkopf also writes about where a company should focus its resources on social media to consider the target audience. What generations are using LinkedIn vs. Instagram? Facebook vs. Twitter? It’s important to consider the end goal. 

Our next post will explore blogging as an executive resource. We’ll take a look at popular Web sites (Forbes.com, Medium.com) and how executives share their opinions and ideas using this format.

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