You don’t need marketing professionals like Rich Gorman to tell you that conditions are constantly evolving, and that – with these evolutions – CEOs and fellow executives must be open to change. Although resistance to change is part of human nature, it’s fairly well documented that CEOs who follow this suit may cause detrimental harm to their company and brand. Social media networks are among the most-referenced resources nowadays and a lack in interest and presence on these sites can cause companies to become invisible in the eyes of today’s modern consumers.
The 2013 Social CEO Report revealed that 68 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social presence at all. Of the CEOs with at least one social media profile, 76 percent utilize one site; just 2.5 percent make use of three networks or more. CEOs neglect social media for many reasons. Rich Gorman believes that while many remain reluctant to accept the progressing methods of engagement, others simply don’t see the value in devoting time to the upkeep of these pages. Still, some are uncomfortable with the transparency offered by these tools and worry about the risks they pose, rather than the upsides.
The social media advantage is in fact numerous and boundless. Many CEOs, however, fail to recognize that the pros substantially outweigh the cons in this content marketing tug-of-war. Even with the proposed risks of social media, such as inadequate use or ambiguous messages, Gorman recognizes that audiences are often forgiving, so long as the online presence is established with a backdrop of good intentions.
According to Gorman, the online mentions of your company and brand matter. Most consumers use the Internet to research companies before determining if their products or services are viable to use. Social media puts companies in a position to control the conversation and engage their audience, as well as prospective customers, in a way not previously possible, explains Rich Gorman.
An inability to make a legitimate presence can negatively impact a company and brand’s ability to remain relevant. While it’s not necessary – or recommended – that companies use every social network platform available, the upkeep of a couple sites that cater to the companies’ niche is essential in today’s technology-enhanced market. And Rich Gorman strongly believes that a trailblazing CEO can be a game changer for any company’s online presence.
1. The Social CEO and Searching Power
Rich Gorman understands that some CEOs need some convincing when it comes to social media. They are unaware of how beneficial a strategically fueled social presence can really be. Search engines are increasingly connecting “people, places and things,” meaning the CEO is more visible than ever before.
Winning the Industry Shorty Award for Top Social Media Presence of a CEO, Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer arrived on the scene with a genuine personality that radiated through every interaction and posting he made. From promoting the industry and its varying players, to supporting his agency and clients, to taking a stand on community issues; Schafer maintained a popular blog on IanSchafer.com, accumulated 2,500 Facebook friends, and gained 15,000 twitter followers, along with almost 61,000 followers on the handle @invisibleobama. His demonstrated leadership and authenticity not only shines bright on his own personality, they attract positive attention to his company as well.
2. The Social CEO is an Inspiring Asset
The more CEOs understand the ins and outs of the setting their company is competing in, the greater an asset they can ultimately be to the success of the company, notes Rich Gorman. In addition to bettering relationships with consumers; fellow employees, media professionals and investors will look at the CEOs’ efforts as a definite plus. According to a recent study published in JD Power and Associates, 87 percent of customers felt social interaction online “positively impacted” their likelihood of purchasing from that company. Fifty-two percent of employees with social CEOs felt inspired by their leaders’ involvement, while 46 percent of employees said the involvement caused them to consider their companies technologically advanced.
3. The Social CEO and Audience Access
According to Rich Gorman, utilizing social media enables a connection and engagement of epic proportions with audience members. This ability to access such an audience, Rich Gorman notes, can be further intensified by fully understanding the use of social media. For those unfamiliar with social media, media training can be effective.
Everyone wants to be the authoritative voice in his or her industry. Gaining this level of respect is definitely a way to gain readership and draw attention to your individual brand, as well as your company. However, Rich Gorman believes that while communicating clear and informative messages is important, being engaging and conversational is of equal importance. It’s not enough to be present on social media. The quality of the content and the authenticity behind the message will determine how well people receive the individual – CEO or not.
4. The Social CEO and Utilizing Consumer Insight
Two heads are better than one. So, a million minds must be astronomically superior. Right? Used at higher levels, social media can gather an immense amount of customer feedback. Rich Gorman articulates that, in turn, this feedback can enhance existing projects, as well as innovate the creation of up-and-coming ones. One prime example of this is Volkswagen’s expedition to create the “People’s Car” in China, which came into being with the suggestions of 210,000 design suggestions from its target audience. In another instance of utilizing audience reach, Indian Billionaire Anand Mahindra eliminated the need for a marketing budget entirely with one tweet to his 800,000 followers: “Help me out with a small survey. Do you get your daily newsdose principally from a) 1 newspaper b) multiple papers c) Internet d) TV.
5. The Social CEO and Social Responsibility
Rich Gorman sees social media’s ability to give CEOs and companies a direct connection to the audience, as one of its best qualities. This connection, however, and engagement, will not prevent the impact of statements made by earned media. Earned media represents what everyone else outside the company is saying. In a split second, all the effort that went into developing a trusted brand and genuine connection with consumers can be shattered by one segment of bad news, a tongue slip or impulse behavior. This should not discourage people from using social media, as these slip-ups will affect the company whether or not the company or CEO uses social media. If anything, having social media in times of crisis can provide a direct platform that can save a brand from a catastrophic unfortunate event.