CEOs don’t spend enough time on social media channels, according to a Ceo.com report. The report states that 68% of the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list have no social media presence at all on the major networks (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google + and Instagram).
Of those CEOs who do have a social media presence, 8.3% have Facebook accounts and only 25.4% are on LinkedIn.
When one understands how vital Social Media is for business today, it is incredible to think that LinkedIn is included in many company’s strategy while their own CEOs do not use it. Typically, they are either too busy to participate or don’t know how it works; nevertheless LinkedIn is the place to be for CEOs.
For leaders of international groups, LinkedIn is a wonderful and innovative tool. It is an international professional network which hosts 364 million users and is available in many languages. LinkedIn has the potential to reach a business’ targets (from within their own industry, future talents and, above all, their prospects) based anywhere in the world on one single platform. Both CEOs and companies can be viewed and followed by many people, thanks to Linkedin, essentially it is a huge database.
You now have the opportunity to publish content and to become an influencer. Linkedin has set up a ‘Publish a post’ button which is available on the homepage when you log in.
Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan, is one of few CEOs who uses Linkedin to it’s full potential. Each month he takes the time to publish an article in which he shares his vision, his values and his beliefs. He uses Linkedin to target his ideas with Renault-Nissan’s employees, stakeholders, partners and individuals interested in the group, as well as politicians in France and abroad. His profile boasts an impressive 549,385 followers (as of 31/07/15), this large audience gives his digital voice a very wide reach. Renault-Nissans’s staff, followers, partners and customers have the opportunity to share the content, not only on Linkedin but also on other networks like Facebook or Twitter, resulting in potentially millions of people viewing his content.
Positive results can be further improved by encouraging colleagues. Indeed, everyone in the company looks at the CEO and expects them to set an example to follow. By using social media, CEOs allow and encourage their staff to do so too. This is an important part of a LinkedIn strategy; if CEOs want to expand their business, reach new prospects or attract talents to their business, employees have a key role to play in it. If CEOs wish to encourage their colleagues to share content, they should be encouraged to use social media in the work environment. Social media is such a powerful and strategic tool that it should be in the company’s DNA, as social networks are one of the best tools to improve customer relations, services, products and customer loyalty.
Here is some advice on how to best use LinkedIn:
Make your company's CEO profile public.
. Add a Linkedin badge into the CEO’s email signature. Create a Company Page to build an audience of followers on LinkedIn. Add the InShare plugin to your website to enable members to share your content on LinkedIn, You'll find it here: http://developer.linkedin.com/plugins/share-plugin-generator
Publish posts on a regular basis.
CEOs should share articles and give their opinion about different topics (related to their business, societal matters, news, innovation, etc...) But they should not get in touch with people to ‘sell’. Instead, they have to try to interact with their audience, generate conversations and answer questions. By sharing their expertise on specialised topics, they’ll gain credibility and the confidence of their audience.
Posting on LinkedIn will also contribute to SEO and will enable their targets to find the CEO and the business easily on Google. By publishing content regularly, the company will gain greater exposure as well as providing the CEO with an increased audience and platform to speak from.
Use the LinkedIn’s groups.
All businesses are likely to find their target audience within LinkedIn groups, exchanging conversation on topics relating to their industry. CEOs can join in on these conversations, giving detailed, specialist insight and answering the more challenging questions.While on a public page CEOs can be followed and viewed by anyone; in Linkedin groups CEOs could find B2B partners, customers or experts in their industry, which is a great way to connect with new prospects. LinkedIn groups are also a great way for CEOs to keep themselves up to date on their industry and competitors’ news and innovations.
Show your personality.
CEOs have the chance to display another face to the public, their audience want to know about their skills as a leader as well as who they are as an individual. Via LinkedIn, CEOs of major companies are accessible and personable. The opportunity for a CEO to show their personality is rare elsewhere in the world of business. For example, Richard Branson frequently posts general day-to-day tips and advice, as well as information about himself (hobbies, family, fun activities at Virgin).
Social media is not a waste of time.
On the contrary, it can help save time, especially regarding business prospecting. Preparing posts in advance and scheduling them by using a tool, such as Klood, is useful. Branson finds time to upload his blog on a regular basis and publish content on all of his networks, answering a few questions everyday from followers. In his own words : “People often wonder how I find time to tweet and update my blog so regularly. How do they not find the time, I wonder? Social media is such a terrific way to connect with our customers that I would never miss out.” Richard Branson is currently followed by more than 8 million people on Linkedin and 6,28 million on Twitter.
Paying attention to the content you publish is very important. For leaders who are not completely at ease with social media, it might be worth building a strong relationship with a community manager who will advise them, help to build a strategy and deal with questions and answers. The voice of the content, however, should always be the CEOs. People who are following CEOs are interested in them, not in the community manager.
Social media is also useful should urgent issues arise, you can react quickly and send the right message to a large audience in a timely manner. LinkedIn is a platform for speaking to financial markets or journalists, for example, who will receive immediate updates and react appropriately. Without a presence on social media, one may have less ability to navigate these urgent issues.
To conclude, LinkedIn should be seen as an essential component of any company’s strategy. It is easy to learn, manageable and can produce great results when used well. CEOs in any industry can benefit from starting and maintaining a strong social media strategy and should pay particular attention to their personal LinkedIn profile.