A CEO is often recognized as the face of their company. They act as a flagship for their organization by providing context for the corporate agenda and a personality behind their brand. Being on social media is an effective way to positively influence the perception and performance of a business.
Research continues to show that executives who use social media effectively are more successful with their businesses than those who do not. Here are the top four reasons why:
1. Customers Are More Likely to Buy From a Brand Whose Executives Are on Social Media
Crafting a social presence that is engaging and informative can have a major positive impact on the brand. In fact, in a survey by Brandfrog,
“77% of respondents were more likely or much more likely to buy from a company whose values and mission are defined through CEO and executive leadership participation on social media.”
For customers, it provides transparency about the company’s activities as well as its values. With high customer expectations for brands, customer trust is vital to a business. According to Sprout Social, 86% of Americans believe transparency from businesses is more important than ever before.
Social media can be a powerful tool for creating trust. In a study by Weber Shandwick, 86% of company executives with a social CEO describe their CEO as open and honest, compared to only 77% of executives with unsocial CEOs. Social media is direct, open, and widely considered to be more authentic when there is an actual person behind the account, and not just a company. The CEO is an extension of the company, and by being active on social media, it creates feelings of accessibility and authenticity. Being active can facilitate new business for the simple reason that people can empathize and trust, in good times and in bad, with a face more easily than a brand.
Richard Branson’s Instagram is one example of an authentic, relatable social media account. His posts highlight not only his business, but himself and his experiences as well. Furthermore, he is transparent, sharing both positive and negative news relating to the company. One of his recent posts commented on how the Department of Transports disqualified Virgin Train’s bid for the West Coast Partnership. This openness boosts the trust and support that consumers will have for him.
2. Executives on Social Media are Better Leaders
Social media is the most widely used communication tool of this generation. An executive who embraces that tool to communicate and connect with his or her employees or customers is better equipped to be a good leader.
A study by Development Dimensions International found that CEOs who participated in social media improved in several key leadership categories. They were stronger than non-social executives in categories such as empowering others, communication, influence, networking, and decision making (see figure below). These qualities translated into tangible results as a survey by LikableInfluence found that up to 80% of employees said they would rather work for a CEO who is active on social media.
One of the best ways a company can set itself apart is by establishing its executives as thought leaders in their fields. Writing articles, especially on LinkedIn, and posting content that consistently adds value to someone’s day is just one way to do that. Bill Gates frequently posts LinkedIn articles on topics he is both passionate about and an expert on, such as this article on climate change. These articles spark discussions, demonstrate expertise, and provide a way to engage with followers.
3. Executives on Social Media Have Better Relationships with Investors and Employees
Executives are expected to have constructive relationships with a variety of stakeholders such as their investors, employees, and the media. For employees, being on social media gives them a better connection with their executives, both perceived and one they can act upon. For investors, it gives them an important look into how the company is doing on a more personal level.
Employee happiness is an important part of any CEO’s job. According to a study about the Social CEO, 73% of CEOs on social media say that one of the top benefits to having social media was using it to communicate with employees.
For prospective investors, CEO social media accounts build additional trust in the leadership through increased transparency and insight into their character. 76% of senior executives in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand believe that having a CEO on social media gives their company more credibility in the market.
Just being on the platform is beneficial as a report by Hootsuite found that companies with social executives are “perceived 23% more positively than companies without.” But social media also makes interacting with existing investors and employees much easier. Simply by commenting on their posts or messaging them occasionally can be an effective way to show support back to key stakeholders. Social media also allows you to be informed on big life changes that they might be going through, putting you one step ahead. If someone is going through a big move or just announced they were having a baby, you can be the first one to say congratulations.
4. Your Customers, Employees and Most People Are on Social Media
Number of Social Media Users Worldwide from 2010 to 2021 (in Billions)
According to estimates, there are 2.77 billion social media users in the world, and it is expected to grow to nearly 3 billion by 2020. Being on social media is no longer an alternative channel, it is becoming the main medium in the world. It enables one to reach a large and diverse audience in a timely and cost-effective manner, allowing you to achieve various business goals.
The average person spends nearly two hours a day on social media, with teens spending up to nine hours a day on social platforms. With so many people on social media for such long periods of time every day, people have more opportunities to interact with and be exposed to an executive’s content. Simply being exposed to someone has the ability to change perceptions positively, according to the mere exposure effect. You have the power to communicate with a large part of the world in just a few seconds, all right from your smart phone. The digital world is extremely connected, so why not take advantage of it?
Despite the evidence that social media is an asset to executives of a company, 61% of Fortune 500 CEOs are still not active on social media. One of the largest reasons CEOs are not social is because they are afraid of the risk. However, the real risk is not having a social presence at all, according to one Fortune 500 company CEO:
“Your message is getting lost or not heard if you aren’t doing it. So, the null set would be… what happens if you don’t?”
A recent article by Forbes says it best: “In an age where online Influencers often have a greater impact on branding efforts than the company’s own social media pages, a CEO who is an influencer in his or her space can be a big advantage.” A company’s image is no longer maintained through its marketing efforts on TV, print, and radio. Social media plays a much larger role now. One customer’s opinion on a company, whether negative or positive, can spread like wildfire on social media. A CEO who can get ahead of this and command a social presence is one that is an effective and progressive leader for their company.
How We Can Help
While social media has become necessary for executives to have in the digital age, it shouldn’t be daunting. At Flagship Social, we take care of all your social media needs, however large or small. We take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your brand to accurately portray your personality on social media. With a crystal-clear grasp on your vision, we are here to execute everything you need from content creation to visibility. With Flagship, you won’t need to worry about your social media because we are here to do it for you.