How Executives Can Improve Their Brand Image on Social Media

Lauren Durfy

What does T-Mobile’s John Legere have that many CEOs don’t? A legion of devoted followers on Twitter. About 5.7 million Twitter followers to be exact.

Research indicates that 84 percent of consumers are likely to trust recommendations from people they know, compared to only 15 percent who said they’d believe what a company tells them. John Legere has a direct line to 5.7 million people on Twitter who find him more authentic and credible than the official T-Mobile Twitter account.

Having executives be active on social has many benefits for them as well as the companies they’re in charge of. High-performing executives are also uniquely positioned to get the best results from establishing a presence on social media.

The Best Leaders are on Social Media

The presidents, founders, and CEOs who are active on social media channels are more likely to show strong leadership skills than fellow CEOs who aren’t. But just what is it that socially savvy CEOs have that their less social counterparts don’t? A lot, according to recent research.

One executive study reported on by CNBC found that CEOs who are active on social media are more likely to outperform their peers across six distinct areas of performance. Socially savvy CEOs are better in all of these areas:

  • Social media CEOs are 89 percent stronger than non-social media CEOs at empowering employees
  • CEOs on social media are 52 percent better at communicating in a compelling way than their non-socially active counterparts
  • CEOs with a social media presence are 46 percent more likely to be rated as “influential”
  • Socially savvy CEOs are 36 percent more adept at cultivating networks of people
  • CEOs active on social media are 19 percent more passionate about achieving results than CEOs who don’t cultivate their presence on social media networks
  • Social media CEOs are 16 percent better decision makers than non-active CEOs

Clearly, there’s a strong correlation between being a great leader and being active and interactive on social. Socially adept CEOs and leaders also create unique competitive advantages for their companies.

What are the Business Advantages of Socially Savvy Leaders?

CEOs, founders, and top executives are already responsible for the fates of their companies. With the weight of the business world on their shoulders, do they really need to bother with Twitter? For busy high-level execs, it’s always challenging adding new duties. There’s never enough time in the day, and social media must be done responsibly. But the leaders who embrace the social media opportunity gain a competitive advantage that less socially inclined CEOs will never enjoy. There are far-reaching benefits for top executives who establish their presence on social media.

When a CEO or top executive has a presence on social media, they come across as more authentic than a typical branded social media channel. When company branded messages are shared by employees they reach 561 percent further than when shared on branded channels.

Additionally, CEOs can provide a role model for employees who would otherwise feel hesitant about getting on social media. Most employees don’t feel empowered to post about their company on social media. CEOs have the opportunity to create change from within.

Top Leaders Need to Lead on Social Media

Social media can be a key component of why some companies thrive while others fail. According to one survey, 79 percent of companies reported enjoying a spike in online visibility after putting a formal employee advocacy program into place. There’s a strong need for CEOs, presidents and founders to show leadership in social media, as well as the other parts of the company they manage. Employees look to their leaders to define the brand mission that everyone rallies behind, but they need someone to look to.

Leading By Example on Social Networks

When leaders embrace social sharing, their active participation fuels the rest of the organization to participate as well. The leader’s social media messages can become a rallying cry for the whole company. When a CEO has a strong social media strategy and knows what to post, those posts can set the tone for how employees within the organization should be sharing on social media and help make them feel more connected to their organization.

As a result, their companies experience benefits such as an increase in the total share of voice within the market. According to a survey of professionals in the workplace, more than 84 percent believe that leaders who have a presence on social media create a competitive advantage for the company.

Social Media Leadership in Action

When amazing CEOs are leading the charge, everyone wants to follow. International business rockstars like Sir Richard Branson of Virgin, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Elon Musk all use social media in unique ways to achieve their goals. And we’ll delve into their stories in our next blog post…

We’ve got even more to share with you about how the best executives can improve their brand image on social media! Subscribe now to our blog to get part 2 of this article.

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