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Up until recently, many CEOs haven’t felt the need to communicate on Social Media. While some of that reticence was driven by their perception of business and legal issues, some of the reluctance could well be generational, as many CEOs of both for-profit and nonprofit organizations tend to be older. Today, there is no doubt left in anybody's mind that social media can be a valued lead earner, CRM engine and even a recuitment engine for most of the company heads.
“The role of the CEO has been transformed by social media, and CEOs have no choice but to become more visible, social and accessible than ever before,” says Ann Charles, the CEO of Brandfog.
But How to use Social Media is something they still have to learn. We do need to understand that social media doesn't come as naturally to them as it does to the millenials.
Like in the example below:
This becomes really painful for the social media marketers as they are told to do stuff which is just not possible.
But there is a way out..
5 simple steps to SocialCEO Creation:
1. Be polite and start with empathy
Business is tough on the middle-aged company heads these days. Only some are willing to learn new things at this age and with so much other stuff to do. They don't understand our "retweet," or what all this "Like" stuff is about. Facebook is something they worry about their kids using. Our ways are strange to them.
But they're not about to admit that to you. Remember that odds are you're dealing with somebody who's just a little embarrassed to be out of the loop at this point. Make them feel at ease. Take the edge off by breaking the ice in private, offering to sit down over coffee, and just help get them "set up."
Be helpful, and be patient. Don't judge.
2. Build them their own personal channel
Social media starts with listening, and one key to getting a CEO rolling in it is to create a feed worth listening to. I would suggest you make them start with and focus on Twitter, just because it's easy and the behaviors are so universal once you adopt them.
So what's your CEO interested in? What magazines does he/she read? What celebrities is he/she into? Which competitors is he/she worried about? Ask a bunch of questions like that, sit down together at a conference table, and after creating a basic profile just start following the best sources for that information. Make it easy, demystify the process. But really focus on creating a feed they see value in, and want access to.
3. Get them to visit Social Media sites daily
Next step is to provide that access... from their browser, and from their phone. Not "a" browser, and not "a" phone. Modify their browser home page to drop them in every day. Add a Shareaholic plug-in to it, and make sure the username and password are stored in it. Do the same with the phone, even if it takes some fumbling and effort.
Stupid little problems like forgetting passwords end up derailing senior people from the medium, because they hit a roadblock and have no time and energy to get around it. Anticipate and neutralize those problems, before they happen.
4. Help do it, do not just watch it
Remember not to show him/her how to do things, but to let him/her struggle with the little details about how to tweet, reply, DM, RT, use hashtags, indicate location, and post a picture. These things seem easy because you've done them a thousand times, but you'll need to coach your company head through them patiently, and resist the temptation to take over the keyboard.
5. Reinforce the behavioral change
If you take this approach, I promise you'll have a great meeting, and that all will be unicorns and rainbows at the end of it. But as is so often the case... if you don't follow up, the fragile sprout of social proficiency will perish in the stale manure of old habit.
Promote your CEO's new Twitter address across the company, so he/she starts to see people following. @ and D him/her periodically, and check in if you don't get a response. Ask for questions, ask how things are going. Suggest topics, and reinforce the idea that in the end it's just about sharing whatever he/she finds interesting during her day, in a way that benefits the people interested in him/her.
..and sooner than you know, your CEO would be flying high with much more Social Media following than you thought in the first place and utilizing it ti make more business connections and catching up with his/her old buddies and making himself heard across the industry.