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Social Leadership: What CEOs Need To Know

by | Apr 10, 2020

Forbes Coaches Council
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Like it or not, today’s culture demands that modern leaders are present and active on social media. Whether you’re ready to jump on the social media bandwagon, know that in the 21st century, CEOs:

• are the voice and face or their company;

• set the communication tone for the business;

• can increase employee engagement and company transparency when they appropriately use social media to communicate with their employees; and

• have the opportunity to increase the authenticity of their company’s brand when they know how to use social media to their advantage.

Remember the tenets of the S.O.C.I.A.L. acronym below to remind yourself of what you should be doing.

S = Status Quo

The new status quoin business today is that you must adapt to the world in which we live, and whether you like it or not, business relationships now have an online social component. Consumer confidence in brands is directly tied to CEO trust and authenticity on social media. If your customers and clients don’t view you, the CEO, as trustworthy, transparent and authentic, their confidence in your brand and willingness to do business with you will drop.

In addition, just hanging out on LinkedIn won’t cut it any longer.  I know that’s where many social CEOs are most comfortable online, but in my experience, it’s not a great place to showcase your realness to the world or your ability to connect with the majority of the social world, which doesn’t spend much time on LinkedIn.

O = Opportunities

A social leader must consider all the opportunities they’re leaving on the table when they aren’t active on social media (again, it’s about more than LinkedIn). Social CEOs have the opportunity to share their insights and showcase their thought leadership capabilities on social media.

When CEOs have a degree of comfort on social media, along with a pre-approved plan of action, they will be much more likely to weather a social media crisis than those who are uncomfortable talking to the masses online.

C = Compliance

If you’re a CEO, you must address compliance issues within your business. Whether you like it or not, your employees are already posting about your business. If you don’t have a workforce well-trained in understanding your company’s digital engagement policy — and if you don’t have one of those that you audit on a yearly basis, then you’re even more behind the eight-ball than you might have considered — then you simply cannot expect them to understand the intricacies of what they can post, where they can post and how they can post to amplify your business while making sure they protect both your company and themselves.

Do they understand current rules from the Federal Trade Commission regarding employee posts? Do they understand copyright laws when it comes to sharing? Does your business have industry-specific standards, like FINRA or HIPPA that must be adhered to?  If you’re not training all your employees from the C-suite on down, you’re opening your business up to trouble.

I = Intentional

Every good CEO knows that intentional planning and policies can go a long way toward growing your business. Social leaders understand that social media isn’t just a marketing concern. Intentional policies and training plus cross-departmental cooperation can boost your recruiting and retention efforts. They can increase your sales leads and conversions. They can also amplify your website traffic, increase your brand awareness and improve your reputation.

A = Advocacy

Good social leaders understand the importance of advocacy. In the case of social leadership, advocacy is twofold: CEOs should be company advocates themselves and can do so by using social media to their advantage, and CEOs should create an employee advocacy program that trains their employees on how to use their own social media networks to both grow the business and amplify its reach. This provides a level of online authenticity that a CEO can’t buy.

L = Learners

While CEOs are often the experts on all things business, when it comes to social media, they must consider themselves learners along with the rest of us. There are always new platforms, new ways to communicate, analytic reports that need deciphering — in other words, social media and social leadership are a constantly evolving environment, and the sooner CEOs accept that they don’t know everything when it comes to social media, the more open they’ll be to learning and then training their staff to keep up with current best practices to help them stay on top.

Social leadership is a skill and attribute that CEOs no longer have the luxury of ignoring. It’s time to lead by example online and use your voice to strengthen your business.

Julie Fisher is a Technology, Social Media, and Employee Engagement/Advocacy Coach at Your Digital Guardian and Echo70

Read Julie Fisher’s full executive profile here.… Read More

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