Content Discovery Smackdown: Hootsuite vs. Buffer vs. KloutContent Marketing Minds: Ingredients of the Tastiest Content [Nutrition Label]From the Corn Field to the Digital Era: Content Marketing Starts with TrustContent Marketing: Is 2014 Really Shaping Up to Be the Year of Video?
Your Customers Aren’t Listening! How to Create Consumer Dialogue that Converts4 Tools for Nonprofit Social Listening and Reputation ManagementThe Promising Role of Social Listening in Treating Health IssuesThe Importance of Social Listening for Brands
- Public Relations
Facebook Testing a Way for Users to Buy Products on the Platform7 Website Tips to Attract More Shoppers to Your PagesHow eCommerce, Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Redefine the Retail ExperienceSearch Query Analysis to Increase eCommerce Website Conversions
- Content Marketing
Technology & Data
Social Startups: Bizible Connects All the Dots from Marketing Contributions to RevenueCreating the Perfect Profile for Your Social Media Marketing EffortUsing GPS and Localization for Social AnalyticsAnalytics and Prospect Intel: Discovering Your Ideal Prospect
- Big Data
- Tech & Innovation
3 Security Risks You’re Taking Every Day While Using Social MediaShould the President Have the Power to "Pull the Plug" on the Internet?How Safe is Your WordPress Website From Hackers and Other Malicious Attacks?
- Software & Tools
- Small Business
- Social Organization
Celebrating the Grand Re-Launch of Social Media Today! SBH Podcast Episode 8Why Should You Care If Your Employees Are Thought Leaders?Beyond Engagement: The Art of Managing Social-Media Risk in Employee Advocacy
Why All-in-One Social Media Management Systems Don't Cut It for Social Customer ServiceWhat You Should Know About Customer, Digital, and Contextual ExperienceSurging into Q3: How to Make It Better Than Q2Is How You Serve Your Customers Costing You Business?
Join us September 15th in Atlanta for The Employee Advocacy Summit and learn how to unleash the power of your employees.
Post your event here and we'll share it with our community. If one of our members is featured, we'll promote as well on their profile.
- Marketplace & Webinars
The SMT Marketplace
Your resource for exclusive content and insights from Social Media Today, and opportunities to reach our community of professionals.
The Social Business Book Club brings you books, discussions, and insights from today's to business thought leaders.
Join interactive talks and and panel discussions with leading thinkers and practitioners on social media and networked business, or browse the catalogue of recorded sessions - all completely free.
Reach Social Media Today's community of marketing and communications professionals in an editor-approved context with a native advertising package.
Turning Executives into Social Leaders
Posted on September 19th 2012
When it comes to implementing social initiatives, taking a top-down approach and getting executive involvement is vital to success. But getting executives to consistently participate in social media can be an arduous task. It is essential to train executives so they can lead the way and set an example for the rest of the organization. I've worked with a variety of tech companies to develop social strategy both internally and externally. Executive participation has always been crucial to the success of the program. From this experience, I developed a 6 step process that was successful for me (and hopefully will be for you too):
Step 1: Find the naturals. As Deirdre Walsh, Senior Social Media Manager at Jive Software, put it in Does your organization have Social DNA?, "Find a leader that is willing to experiment with social." Do your homework. Look for your executives on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and see which ones have the most developed profiles and the most activity. The executives with the most social engagement should be the ones you reach out to first.
Step 2: Link to business goals. Explain clearly and concisely how using social will help your executives achieve their business goals. For a deep-dive on how to do align the use of a social intranet to business goals, check out Align Your Community with Your Business Strategy by Jennifer Kelley, Senior Strategic Consultant at Jive Software. When encouraging executive participation in social externally, emphasize the impact it has on brand loyalty and awareness. Bottom line: people want to talk to people, not faceless brands. No matter how cleverly worded your marketing messages are, it is difficult to build loyalty without a persona. I've worked on social media strategy for a variety of companies and the content that consistently performed the best (received highest engagement) was either posted by employees or had a face attached to it. Not to be forgotten, this is also a great opportunity for executives to build their thought leadership, which improves brand awareness.
Step 3: Provide the proof. Executives need evidence. Supply your executives with case studies and concrete examples of the impact of social has on an organization. Remember to highlight that the executives are a critical component to creating a social organization, both internally and externally.
Step 4: Train them. When training executives, I strongly recommended one-on-one sessions. With a group training there will inevitably be questions left unasked due to fear of appearing dumb. Another benefit of one-on-one training is that you are able to provide very specific, tailored advice. When I conduct executive social training, I prepare by looking at their existing social profiles and create a list of specific parts that need to be updated. If you opt for a presentation, a live demonstration is much more effective that reading through a slide deck. That being said, you should still develop step-by-step instructions on how to use the social platform to leave them with for future reference. Conclude the training with a practice session to get them familiar with the platform.
Step 5: Make it easy. The biggest hurdle you will encounter is the "busy" factor. Have you ever looked at the CMO's calendar? I have. As you can imagine, it is scary. Give your executives ideas of how to work social into their daily workflow. Provide them with suggestions of what to post. Initially, you will want to consider drafting sample posts for them. Also, make it easy to post by giving them different ways to access the social platform - yes, I mean mobile. Every major social network has a mobile application, as does Jive's social intranet.
Step 6: Make a competition. Nothing gets people fired up like competition. Create an competition between your executives. This does take some planning - you'll need to determine what they will be measured on, how you will measure those KPIs, and the time frame of the competition. You can measure things like the number of posts and amount of engagement the posts receive. Let's say you choose the duration of one month. At the end of each month, send a note out internally congratulating the most social executive.
If you want your executives to become social leaders, remember to check-in with them periodically to acknowledge their effort or remind them to participate. A gentle push and a friendly reminder go a long way to ensuring continued engagement.
What is the biggest challenge you've encountered with getting executives to be social?