Globally, social media have been adopted by most executives at every level. However, given the scepticism of CEOs around the concept of social media — do they embrace it for business growth? Read on to know more…
From past few years, social media has been a crucial tool in the business and enterprise sector. Social media has changed the business landscape globally. In the current business ecosystem, networking is an essential component for innovation, technology and customer interaction and relations. Networking as an executive in any position or across any Industry is one of the ways through which one can build credibility and reputation for both personal and professional purpose. Presently, social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other media platforms are not only used by individuals, students and others – they are also used by several professionals throughout the world.
Nowadays, CEOs are adopting to social media more than ever for their business growth. However, experts say that they are still not fully leveraging those social media tools for gaining visibility or for productive purpose amongst CEOs. But the trend is improving given that five years back when board of directors were searching for CEO, social media was not that popular. Nowadays, board members look for candidates who have a strong social presence and often they consider CEO candidates whose credibility is high in the social media domain. And this remain as one of the list of factors for the board of directors when vetting CEO candidates. It is a well-known fact that CEOs strategic presence in the social media helps build company’s reputation, build professional relationships with employees and journalists and gives credibility for the management and employees. In-fact you would be surprised to know that CEO and founder member of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has his presence on the five popular social media platforms namely Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.
So let’s understand the significance and concept of Social media Banking or ‘S-Banking’ that uses social media services for banking transaction.
First and foremost is that CEOs presence in the social media marks an important breakthrough for business and corporate communications. For that a CEO has to be confident to fully utilize the social media technology to gain a competitive advantage in the highly volatile business world. Additionally, CEOs should often be willing to act on ‘actionable social information’ which means business leaders should use social media to improve business results
According to ‘2014 Global Social CEO Survey’ by Brandfog, almost three-fourths of top business leaders in the United States view that lower business heads who use social media to communicate are more trustworthy than those who do not use them. The survey further states that 82% of senior business leaders think that executive who use social media helps establish Industry leadership and raise their brand value and awareness.
For the CEOs, social media offers a useful means to capture community knowledge and enhance group creativity. Several of the enterprise social media tools out there today allow every executive to interact with every relevant people.
It is crucial for the next-generation social CEOs to succeed as business leaders by engaging more with their internal staff, technical teams, partners and customers. But this requires CEOs to be more focused and to manage social media conversations for company visibility and growth rather than posting unwanted generalized social messages. Experts argue that this is the most challenge that most CEOs face while dealing with various social media tools.
According to the Brandfog survey, 83% of senior business leaders think CEOs who participate in social media actively can build better connections with their customers, employees, partners and investors.
Social Media Tools
For successful team integration and motivation, CEOs can use crowdsourcing software or new ‘actionable social’ tools to solicit feedback from large teams or groups. For instance, departmental heads or sales or marketing managers can submit their own ideas and vote on the best ones to pursue for their group initiatives on a specific project allocated by their top executives. This self-governing exercise results in greater buy-in from elements, which in turn leads to highly motivated individuals and better involved teams.
CEOs also take care to manage which audiences participate in each initiative, involving with other team members to execute the project and discarding the traditional social free-for-all messages. For example, depending on the necessity of the assignment certain crowdsourcing projects may invite their in-house workers to participate, while other team members would query only external partners or suppliers.
Another key factor of this exercise involves structuring crowd-sourced discussions on certain specific subjects, and blocking out other topics to be avoided by the team members in a group. CEOs may also curate their social discussions by posting certain comments as anonymous in order to solicit open criticisms, while requiring users to be clearly identified and accountable when voting on shared priorities in an organization. In the present day, business leaders are expected to step out of their boardrooms and avoid their firm hierarchies to engage with actual people who plan and execute the whole mission.
Business Growth through Social Media
Experts state that CEOs using social media in the B2B sector as a tool has more advantages for the business growth. Some of the advantages of CEOs using social media for business growth are as follows
• Marketing Company’s Product: CEOs can instruct the marketing team to use social media to promote the marketing content. One can use social media to showcase the unique quality of the product and contents generated by the company specifically for the buyer’s requirement. If this process is followed by the marketing lead team to promote the marketing content, then one can achieve results through inbound marketing strategy.
• Creating Brand Value: As a CEO of an organization, it is crucial to build a brand value and for that first brand awareness should be created using social media tools. For this, one has to share useful information about the company and create a brand value that can also sustain itself. Likewise, one can create a brand value and awareness within the users’ social media platform so that the followers will be able to identify the brand based on the company heads’ messages posted on the social media site
• Human Prospect of Organization: Usually, people search for the business head’s or Chief Executive’s profile to know more about the company. For instance, people would be interested to know the reasons for which the company stands for or people may be curious to know more about the company’s culture, ideas and values that people can believe and deliver promptly. So it’s crucial for the CEOs to communicate the company’s vital data like company mission, its values and the objective to the relevant persons.
• Force Multiplier as Social Catalyst: One of the brighter aspect of social media tools is that CEOs can establish themselves as a social influencer across the digital domain. This can be done by CEOs posting a glimpse of their (exceptional) role from a personal perspective to the concerned people. Additionally, CEOs can share about their perceptions on how they are able to resolve a challenging project using third-party tools which they have discovered. This process of information sharing (through social media) relating to the Industry is especially useful for reference to other organizations and professionals. Thus the followers will respect the opinion and expertise of the CEO and the team. One can see several such references in the LinkedIn social media.
• Hiring New Aspirants: For those of you who are not aware of the potential of social media, you would be surprised to know that it can be used to recruit new talent in an organization. There are few CEOs who use social media to hire potential candidates and even if they are not looking for the job seekers, CEOs may choose to keep the potential candidates in waiting by communicating with them over the social media. Usually, LinkedIn is the default social media platform for making business connections; but we cannot ignore other media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. You would be surprised to know that in November 2014, Brent Franson, CEO of Euclid in the US advertised himself in the Twitter to recruit new talent in his company.
Today’s business leaders and executives are more aware of the importance of social media for business growth than ever before and the CEOs embracing social media continues to rise exponentially.
It’s obvious that social media will continue to have a significant impact on CEOs in the coming years. They now have the ability to reach out and communicate on a personal level with their staff, customers, target audience and media. This is a game changer for CEOs engaging in business and wants to have a direct channel on marketing, sales, customer service and other business activities. This is very powerful medium which was not available previously and has never been effective when compared with other traditional medium.
While it is obvious that CEOs have a busy schedule and paucity of time and some of them may view social media as not worth their time, it is probably time to re-consider that decision.
The author is a Senior Editor at Bitstream Mediaworks.
He has an active interest in IT Security.