Since social media has become increasingly important in personal and professional lives, CEOs must capitalize on the benefits of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, and LinkedIn.
Executive branding for companies is essential to success in 2022. Many CEOs, however, do not believe social media is necessary. Nearly 61% do not have a social media presence.
There is a growing disillusionment with companies as faceless, nameless entities. Most people want to know, like, and trust real people instead. Using social media to communicate with the CEO and leadership team builds employee and customer trust.
By demonstrating a human side to your executive team, you can build a “know like trust” (KLT) factor that will attract business.
When CEOs communicate directly with their followers, they engender a sense of amicability and friendship, which improves trust in, satisfaction with, and advocacy for the company. Here are a few aspects to consider when assessing the impact of social media in business.
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Social media has the ability to enhance a company’s online visibility, which can improve trust and loyalty. For example, 86 percent of Americans consider transparency more important today than ever.
When deciding between brands, customers tend to choose the brand that displays messaging that aligns with their beliefs. When one company displays consistent brand messaging and knowledge as opposed to its competition, which stays silent on trends and issues, customers tend to gravitate toward the company they know best.
Having a social presence gives an insight into the company and its CEO from behind the scenes, humanizing them and increasing trust. Since trust is such an important factor, 82 percent of consumers say their trust is enhanced when leaders use social media to communicate their mission, values, and purpose.
CEOs need to practice a moment of customer empathy regularly. Immerse yourself in your customers’ identities by stepping into their shoes. The knowledge you’ll gain will surprise you.
Much attention is paid to understanding your target client’s pain points—the problems your prospects face every day and the consequences they may face.
You will be able to position yourself better, communicate your unique value and benefit to clients, and improve your output to meet their needs better when you truly understand their problems.
Identifying your clients’ worst pain points doesn’t require hours of research. Some tips:
It’s simple to figure out what clients’ pain points are. Speak with happy clients, former clients, and clients you perceive as ‘difficult.’ The best insight is gained by being direct when asking tough questions and listening to the answers.
Ask questions that invite them to share their experiences, such as, “What challenges have you encountered so far?” and “How are things going now?” You will gain a better understanding of the needs of your clients through their stories.
Getting answers online can be done through reviews, forums, or social media posts and comments. People tend to be more honest and open when hidden behind a computer screen. Lastly, be humble and open to all feedback.
An excellent place to start is by conducting keyword research on the pain points of your industry.
Most prospective clients will Google their pain points on their own time, so using Google Trends and other keyword research tools is an excellent way to find search volume for various queries in your industry. You can search trends over time to see if a particular pain point is trending and search these terms on social media to track down clients struggling with your service/products.
Having a data-backed overview of your industry’s pain points will help you make the appropriate adjustments based on what’s working (and not working) for your clients.
Ultimately, it’s a win-win for everyone if you address pain points and offer your clients a sense of value and understanding.
Taking the time to understand specific issues in your community can have a human aspect that your competitors cannot reach. Challenge yourself to use social media and learn from it.
Roy Banks, CEO of Weave, did just that, and he learned a lot from his community about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Due to his unique perspective on DEI as one of the only black CEOs in Utah, he wanted to engage in discussions that other companies and CEOs should lead.
“It was comforting to hear some of the responses from members of my community and know that our futures are in good hands. The number of people who have DMed me wanting to engage further on this work has been tremendous and has given me plenty to do for the next few months.”
Banks went on to raise money to help an employee’s family escape Ukraine as the war broke out in 2022.
Because Banks had built a community around his executive brand, people quickly responded to his call for help, and $13,000 was raised in a matter of hours. What started as a social media challenge the CEO set for himself ended up saving lives.
Approximately 3.5 billion people use social media daily. Social media has become a go-to place for product and brand information as users spend more time on these platforms.
The kicker? The majority of CEOs do not have social media accounts. Be approachable and authentic if you’re serious about standing out from the competition.
Most companies now use social media for advertising company news, awards, events, and acquisitions.
You need to separate yourself from the noise to stand out from the crowd.
The most effective way to solidify your brand presence is to engage in active social listening. Your company will stand out when you promote genuine engagement, offer valuable content, and maintain transparency.
As the CEO, branding yourself is still extremely important, even if you don’t interact with your audience daily like other staff members. For CEOs just starting on social media, I offer this advice:
“CEO branding starts with determining what you want your core message to be. Your message should coincide with what your target audience believes, and you need to use your message to grab their attention. If you brand yourself properly and market your message to those people, you’ll have a loyal customer base in no time.”
A company’s brand helps you make connections in the business world, gets your name in front of people’s eyes, and boosts its business more than you think. The human element of a CEO who listens makes a huge difference to brand presence.
A social media presence can enhance your company’s thought leadership by creating a public forum for audiences and key influencers to interact.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, and Quora allow your executive branch to share industry insights and demonstrate its industry expertise.
According to 76 percent of executives, CEOs who use social media demonstrate an organization’s innovation, and 69 percent say it enhances the brand’s credibility. The significance of being present on social media is undeniable.
To reach millions of Reddit users, Uniqlo incorporated e-commerce manager Arielle Dyda’s personal account into its marketing strategy. Arielle keeps tabs on customer conversations and answers customers’ queries in a friendly way.
Dyda invites Uniqlo subreddit users to meetups and posts product launches and deals on Reddit. By doing so, she appears as a member of the community, not a promoter.
On days when Uniqlo posts special deals on Reddit, Reddit referrals account for 20 percent of its online sales due to Dyda’s interactions. Dyda explained, “I’m savvy with the Reddit lingo, making me one of them. I’m not just Uniqlo; I’m midnight1214, and I understand the jokes and frustrations, but I’m going to be here to help you when you need it.”
Leaders don’t have to spend a lot of time on social media to build their base and cultivate brand advocacy. It’s about connecting with people and getting traction on social media. Each platform has its own culture, and CEOs should investigate before venturing onto social networks like Reddit. Tread lightly – customers can spot insincerity from a mile away.
After oligarch Galen Weston announced in October 2022 that he would freeze the prices of No Name (Loblaw’s discount brand) until January 2023, Canadians were furious.
“Considering Galen is one of the country’s wealthiest individuals, his promise to freeze prices that he has increased during the most difficult time in recent history seems insincere and greedy.”
There is no doubt that it’s strange for a billionaire from Canada to send out a message including phrases such as “…when you’re worried about your family’s budget and uncertain about how much you’ll need each month to pay for food” and “…make a real difference in both your grocery bills and your peace of mind.”
The feelings of condescension and lying particularly irritate customers. Sincerity and accountability are essential components of successful leadership.
The best advocates of a company are its employees. Social media is an excellent way to showcase their enthusiasm. Their endorsement can influence whether your next best hire joins your company. Additionally, an active employee advocate increases your brand’s reach and credibility by sharing information about your company culture and awards.
Take Michael, aka @yeaboyyyyyyd, on TikTok. Michael showcases specials at his Austin, Texas, Costco location and tells funny stories about ridiculous customer interactions. He often shares ways prospective employees can get hired at Costco, detailing the benefits and flexibility of working at the warehouse.
The use of social media in talent acquisition has transformed the process, as it has become an important tool for showcasing corporate culture. 79 percent of job seekers use social media in their job search, making it a powerful tool to showcase company culture.
Consumers want ads to feel like stories, according to a OneSpot survey. We are wired for stories. According to neuro-economist Paul J. Zak, we have an uncontrollable neurochemical reaction when we read a story. The emotions we feel suddenly change the way we interpret things.
Dr. Zak’s team “found that character-driven stories consistently cause oxytocin synthesis. Further, the amount of oxytocin released by the brain predicted how much people were willing to help others; for example, donating money to a charity associated with the narrative.”
Our brains are wired to respond well to stories that appeal to our motivations and desires. The right story can profoundly influence the behavior of an individual.
Consumerism and the digital economy translate nicely into these behavior-influencing stories.
With typical business articles, the brand is often the story’s hero. However, brand journalism (whether written by or about the CEO) offers companies the choice of protagonist. No longer is it enough to say, “Look at me! Click here to buy stuff!” Brand journalism has created a whole new level of engagement.
The hero can be the customer, the product, the employee, the company, or the CEO.
Take Iman Gadzhi, for example. Rather than focusing on the products or services that made him his fortune, Iman concentrates on philanthropy.
He donated $150,000 to construct three schools in Nepal after becoming successful in business. An ex-high school dropout, he shared his experiences. He remained an ardent advocate for public education despite its need for reform. He felt that building schools were symbolic of his life.
As Gadzhi wrote in his travel diary, the true heroes of the story were the Nepalese children. This powerful story enabled the company to connect with people and significantly increase sales, client inquiries, and email opt-ins.
Once consumers see that their values align with the brand’s values over time, they don’t need to be persuaded. To reach audiences at a human level, as well as various levels of brand affinity and to buy stages, content marketing and brand journalism work well together, especially from the perspective of a company leader. However, that doesn’t have to be the CEO.
With social media, CEOs and C-suite executives can create enhanced brand awareness and loyalty, establish thought leadership, and increase sales.