THE REAL VALUE OF A SOCIAL CEO
THE REAL VALUE OF A SOCIAL CEOApril 3, 2019
Four years ago, a study of CEOs of marketing companies worldwide, conducted by Useful Social Media, found that only 50% of business leaders were convinced that social media was of any value for their companies.And in the age of apparently ubiquitous digital connectedness, it’s surprising to find that roughly 60 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are not active on any social media channel.
A wide body of research reveals that business leaders continue to doubt that Twitter or Facebook can help generate customers and sell products, and they struggle to see any measurable return on investment from these activities.
One reason for this is that it can indeed be difficult for CEOs to promote their business’ services or products on social media platforms, especially in certain sectors – think of the heavily regulated financial services industry, for instance.
However, that doesn’t mean Twitter and co. are not relevant to the company’s success. For most businesses, the real value of social media is not directly selling products or services, but rather offering business leaders a platform to make contacts, maintain relationships and earn the right to have a meeting or phone call with a prospective client, which can then lead to a sale.
BEING PART OF THE DISCUSSION
Social media is an effective tool for CEOs to connect directly with key audiences, engaging in conversations that are relevant to their business and stakeholders.
For example, clients, employees and journalists regularly want to know where companies stand on important political or social issues. Senior leaders are uniquely positioned to provide clarity on these topics, and by using a direct and public platform to articulate their own and their business’ values they can help shape the wider perception of a company, and create trust among stakeholders through transparency.
LENDING PERSONALITY TO THE BUSINESS
It is especially the increasingly-prized millennial customer, or employee, that wants to buy from, invest with or work at a company they feel emotionally connected to, and they actively seek out firms that offer a close fit with their values.
Social media is an effective way to demonstrate this: like no other platform, it enables CEOs to show who they are as a business leader and as a person. If a CEO shares even a little insight into her life, or thinking, on social media, it enables their audience to understand and feel connected to a real person, better relating to them, and in turn to the business itself.
No matter the sector, in the end relationships and trust are the very core of most businesses and industries all over the world, and social media is an ever-more important tool for business leaders to help establish these.