5 Ways to Convince your CEO to Engage on Twitter

by Carolyn Edgecomb on July 10, 2013

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5 Ways to Convince your CEO to Engage on Twitter8 out of 10 CEO’s doubt the benefit of social media.


Only a small portion of CEO’s see the value and true potential social media plays in the growth and leadership of their company.


Company executives and social media managers know how important it is for their employees to not only engage with customers but also other employees on Twitter.


However, you won’t find many Fortune 500 CEO’s.


Social media has and will continue to change the way companies do business, as well as the way companies collaborate with their customers.


Twitter is seen, as one of the best ways for CEO’s to stay connected and relevant in today’s high-powered business world.


Why your CEO Should be On Twitter


Social media platforms are no longer for high school and college students. Companies, customers and employees are using it on a daily basis. But are you?


Unfortunately, not many CEO’s are taking advantage of the benefits and potential of Twitter.  In 2011, only 5% of Fortune 500 CEO’s used Twitter, but only 2.5% of those CEO’s were active. Two years later, a whopping 16% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are now using Twitter.  Even though that number has significantly increased, the other 84% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are missing out on the opportunity to lend an authentic voice to their brand, share product news, and hear from customers.


1. Beneficial


There are several benefits to using social media, especially Twitter. Not just for a company’s employees or customers but also for their CEO.


Through Twitter you are able to expand the reach of your content, develop relationships with


According to a Weber Shandwick survey, CEO’s who use social media are viewed as better communicators, more open and accessible, and more inspirational than CEO’s who don’t. The survey also concluded that “whether it’s on the company website, blog, or on their own personal social media channels, the very act of telling the story empowers them to exert a high degree of influence over the discussion surrounding their company, both internally and externally, as well as engage with employees and the general public.”


I’m not saying that you should join Twitter to post about what goes on in your free time, but rather as a CEO, engaging on Twitter is a great way for you to be the voice of your company. Be a thought leader. With new advances and insights, industries are continuously changing. You should be at the beginning of the change. Employees and customers look to innovative and adaptive companies.


2. Provides a Competitive Edge


What company doesn’t want to be adaptive and agile? This could be easy when your CEO is on Twitter.


According to the BRANDfog 2012 CEO survey, "82% of people are likely or much more likely to trust a company whose CEO and team engage in social media, but 77% of buyers say they are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media."


What more incentive do you need to begin tweeting? Gaining trust is extremely difficult for companies. Often time's the companies corporate account is doing all the tweeting and engaging. But do your customers know whose behind the brand? All to often these days, more companies appear robotic, posting the same response to every tweet and comment left on their wall.


In 2012, Aman Singh the editorial director at CSRwire stated, "Transparency, vision and open communication are key to great leadership and corporate social responsibility strategy today. It's not surprising to see that the results of BRANDfog's survey reaffirm that social media plays such an influential role in shaping a company's brand image. What's more, customers expect to hear from the executive leadership on social media channels, as a direct way to connect and engage with the brands they love and causes they support."


3. Employees Want a Social CEO


Social media is one of the two most important forms of engagement with employees and customers, besides having a face-to-face interaction.


Despite the amount of employees and companies participating across a number of social media channels, CEO's have been slow to adapt Twitter as a vehicle for communication.


Benefits of having a socially engaged CEO:



  • Shows innovation

  • Humanizes your company and gives it personality

  • Provides an alterative platform for CEO’s to communicate with employees

  • CEO’s are able to build better relationships with media. (Social media allows CEO’s and companies to diffuse a PR nightmare sooner rather than later.)

  • Helps CEO’s find and attract new customers


Additionally, from Weber Shandwick’s study, The Social CEO: Executives Tell All, "76% of all executives believe it is a good idea for CEO’s to be social." A CEO should instill inspiration within their employees.


The benefits of having everyone in the company actively engaging and interacting on Twitter is huge. Did you know that the more people share your content on Twitter and social media platforms, the more you will appear in search engines?


Not only will you be able to expand the reach of your company, but you can also develop more trust with your customers and prospects.


4. The Hardest Part is Getting Started


The first step to getting your message out there is creating a profile on Twitter.


According to an article by Brian Halligan, often times the problem isn’t that CEO’s don’t have Twitter, but that they don’t have it set up correctly.


You need to be able to filter through the massive amounts of data and information. Especially as the CEO of a company, you don't have time to see every update your followers post. That's why Twitter developed lists. Making it easier for you to see those tweets important to you.


Consider creating lists for: 



  • Employees

  • Customers

  • Industry thought leaders

  • News

  • Or you can create a list based on location or subject


Don't get left in the dust while your competitors are taking advantage of having a social CEO.


5. 30 Minutes a Day


We know you're busy. You don't need to spend every waking moment staring at your Twitter feed.


Spend at least 30 minutes a day, engaging and updating your Twitter account. You don't have to spend that time in one huge chunk. If so, you might miss tweets posted in the morning if you wait till the end of your day.


Consider splitting those 30 minutes into three 10 minute intervals. Just like you spend a good portion of your morning checking your email, make room for an additional 10 minutes to respond to any tweets and publish a tweet. And split the remaining 20 minutes throughout your day when you have some downtime.


If tweeting isn’t your thing, being social isn’t just about participating; it’s also about listening. Don’t have time to tweet every 15 minutes, no problem. But it’s a great platform for monitoring what your customers, investors, competitors and employees are talking about.


As you can see social media is becoming a vital part for CEO’s and employees. If you’re CEO isn’t currently taking advantage of Twitter you aren’t reaping the rewards and benefits.

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