While it is true that executives and CEO’s are beginning to be more active on social networks (after all, Facebook has been around for 10 years now), it is still an area that is in desperate need of some attention. Many of the typical reasons for not being active are similar to the reasons why I haven’t tried Crossfit: too busy, ROI is hazy, and not sure quite how to navigate it without looking like an awkward llama. The feelings are normal. But like anything worth understanding and excelling at, the learning curve can be steep but the rewards plentiful.
Here are a few key reasons, you, as the face of your business, need to be active and building engaged communities on social media:
1. Become a Thought Leader: It is one thing to have a fancy title, but to actually show that expertise in the marketplace will open up a world of possibilities. By creating an expansive online network, you will be heard much more prominently in your industry, respected across your organization, and will find new career opportunities presented to you without the need to look for them.
Ask yourself: what do I want to be known for? Then create that community. I can say with absolute certainty that every career-advancing opportunity that has come across my path in the last year has been due, in large part, to my growing Twitter community and detailed LinkedIn profile. Your social profiles are a way for people to get to know you both personally and professionally (that balance is 100% up to you). I wanted to be primarily known for my Marketing expertise (specifically content, social media & community engagement), as well as sprinkle in more personal interests such as fitness, millennial trends, and emerging technology. By finely honing that community over the last 18 months, my engagement rates have skyrocketed and I was recently listed as a top Millennial Marketing Influencer by LinkedIn, listed in the top 15 alongside my celeb girl-crushes, Chelsea Krost & Sophia Amoruso.
2. Lead Generation: If you are in a position of high visibility within your organization, in sales, or work for a small company, it is possible that thousands (if not millions) of customers, partners, prospects, suppliers, and shareholders are looking to you as a source of credible information. Everything you post has the potential to sway the decisions of any of these stakeholders, especially if they are an established member of your community and you have built that trust and credibility.
Use your community to create better content & have more impactful conversations. With an effective social strategy, you will keep posting about your company’s products to a minimum. Social is designed as an opportunity to tell interesting stories, share industry content, and find out what gets your community excited. If I share a post on Tips for Email Marketing that gets 100 likes and 45 retweets, followed by a post on Best Practices for Snapchat that gets 5 likes and 2 retweets, it is evident to me what my community is interested in hearing more about. With this knowledge in mind, I will use it to influence what type of content I create in the future. If you are selling a product, you want to find out what sparks the greatest response in your audience (i.e their pain points) so you can build a rapport and become their trusted resource once they are ready to make a purchase.
3. Recruitment Advantage: If an executive engages with me on social media, I am automatically intrigued by that company. This can be beneficial from both sides of the equation.
From the hiring manager perspective, you can get a solid understanding of who that candidate is, how they engage with others, and their overall expertise in the industry/role you are looking for. This is why it’s becoming more and more critical that professionals have an established presence, especially if you work in marketing or any customer-facing role.
From a candidate perspective, you can get a bird’s eye view into the organization, and culture, based on the type of information executives are sharing. You can understand what’s important to the business, what’s going on in the industry, and possible topics to elaborate on during interviews.
Where to Begin?
It’s an incredibly daunting task of taking a community and building it from scratch. But every one of us is an expert (or becoming an expert) in something. Start small. Find one platform that you want to grow and focus on making it great.