05 Jul Roundtable: How to Develop a Strategic Approach to Elevating Executives’ Social Media Presence
In today’s digital landscape, creating a social media presence for executives can be a powerful tool to shape a company’s brand, build credibility, and engage with a broader audience.
In the roundtable discussion embedded below, I was joined by Lisa Braziel, Drew Sykes and Taylor Glymph as we delved into key strategies to help your executive team build an authentic and effective personal brand. The ideal personal brand will align with the leadership team’s business goals while empowering them to be more effective advocates for your brand.
Prefer to read or skim? No worries. We’ve summarized the conversation below.
How to Develop An Executive’s Social Media Presence
There is a lot to consider when creating a social media presence for executives. For example, creating a strong presence for an HR executive who is hungry to engage with an online community can be much more valuable than trying to force a strategy on a shy finance executive who already has an overpacked schedule.
As social media marketing professionals, it’s essential for us to guide company leaders towards the best strategy on social platforms and harness the power of though leadership to their own capabilities.
So, let’s delve into the key considerations when creating an effective social media strategy for executives that want to elevate their positions as industry thought leaders.
Start by answering some key questions
When creating a social media strategy for members of your organization, you always want to start by asking some questions to create a strong foundation to build off. This will help you have a clear path forward.
First, it is important to consider that every social media strategy should be unique to the individual person. Some executives are more social media savvy than others. Some people may already be engaging online whereas others don’t know the first thing about how to engage.
Some important foundational questions to ask include:
- How many executives are on your team? What is similar about them? What is different?
- What is everyone’s role on the team?
- Which members of the team would have the most to gain from a social media strategy? How can you prioritize their engagement?
- How familiar are they with social media?
- What social platforms are they already on?
- Do they write their own posts?
- Do they use tags in their posts?
- Do they share and comment other posts?
- Are they writing articles and sharing original ideas?
- Who is their target audience? Who do they want to reach?
- Why are they on social media? What are their goals?
- What kind of presence do they want to have?
- How can you measure their accomplishments and meet their goals?
Create goals that can be accomplished
Regardless of where they are starting from, everyone can make small improvements in their social media strategy. They might be doing great already, or they might just be getting started, but everyone can take baby steps and make improvements.
For executives that are new to social media, it may be best to take a “crawl, walk, run” approach. This approach starts very basic and then gradually gets more involved. For example, starting with a “crawl” might be just setting up and optimizing a social media account. From there, the executive could get used to “walking” on the platform by simply liking and sharing some relevant posts. Eventually, they could move onto the “run” phase where they write posts and share original thought leadership content. Breaking it down into these phases can make everything more feasible.
The most important thing is to not create something that can’t be sustained. When developing a strategy, always think about how it’s going to be executed in the long term. Be honest with yourself and your team about what the executive’s strengths, capabilities, and bandwidth are. Some people might be able to bang out a 1000-word article in 30 minutes, whereas others might agonize over that for hours. If they are going to agonize over every article, then including 1000-word articles in their strategy is not sustainable.
Demystify the idea of thought leadership
Understandably, the phrase “thought leadership” can be really paralyzing. Being told to “do more thought leadership” is a vague request that makes it sound like you’re supposed to just sit down at your desk and have these big ideas.
That’s a hard thing to put on your to-do list.
However, it doesn’t have to be this grand, mystical thing. Instead of positioning it as coming up with new ideas, position it as repackaging things that your team has already produced. Thought leadership is generally about sharing the knowledge and expertise that you already have with others and answering common questions.
Another way to approach it is to ask your executives to think about why they do the work and what makes the job meaningful to them. This can help them think about the common questions on a deeper level to provide expert insights.
Be selective about what you share
There can be a lot of pressure in thought leadership to be an expert on everything that you do. However, this can quickly become unmanageable and overwhelming. Instead, thoughtfully look at the spectrum of content your executive team could produce and focus on the information that is most relevant to their specific niche or that interests them the most. Help them find their content pillars and build their strategy out from those specific pillars. This can help keep things focused and approachable.
Once you’ve narrowed down the scope, then you can also work in little slivers of their personality or everyday life. Sharing curated bits of their personal life, such as a snapshot from coaching their kid’s basketball camp, can help build authenticity with their community and help create more authentic connections with their audience.
Automate what you can
A helpful phrase to remember is “automate what’s important to you.” If you want to prioritize your social media strategy, you can automate the processes to help make it easier to sustain. For example, set aside a time or day of the week to write posts or comments.
Or sometimes the hardest thing for executives is to get the thought published, so be sure to have the necessary support there to help them review or actually post the content at set times throughout the week or month. Use automation in any way you can to help you get your thoughts out into the world.
If you follow these tips, your executive’s thought leadership strategy is much more likely to be sustainable and helpful to your business over the long term.
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