How to be a Social CEO

August 20, 2013

1:00 pm

As the CEO of your startup, you should already be promoting open communication within your company, as well as increasing engagement with your customers. While most startups are already social media-savvy, it’s important for you as the CEO to promote a social environment for your company.

A recent study by DOMO and CEO.com revealed 70 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are not active on social media. To take an even closer look, only 28 of these CEOs have Twitter accounts, and only 19 are active. Now, although your startup is on a smaller business scale, it’s important to see how there is a need for more social media engagement from CEOs. Social media is changing the way businesses increase revenues; therefore, as the CEO and public face of your startup, you yourself — not just your startup — need to be known in the social media realm.

Whether you already have a social media strategy in place or you’re looking to become a more social CEO, here are some ways you can engage more with your employees and customers online:

Create a brand for yourself. As the CEO of your startup, it’s important for you to create a personal brand for yourself so your employees and customers can interact with you on a more personal level. When you create a brand for yourself, use it to make your interests outside your company known so you can better relate. Whether it’s your passion for surfing or traveling abroad, do something to show your audience you are a real person, just like your customers and employees are. By creating a personal brand for yourself, you will be able to attract the type of customers you want to engage.

Start blogging your journey. As you begin to brand yourself, use this as an opportunity to share your journey with your employees and customers. By starting a blog, you can write about your successes with your startup, as well as your lessons learned. Your blog can also be a great way to share news about your company as well as stories from your personal life.

Whatever you can do to make yourself more relatable to your employees and customers, the better. These people want the opportunity to know who upper management is. By blogging, you will be able to inspire more of your employees and provide an outlet for your employees to interact with you.

Use social media to build your culture. Social media is more than just tweeting about your opinions or sharing industry content. It’s also more than just a tool to promote your product. If you are active on Twitter or LinkedIn, use these social media platforms to build a culture for your company, engage with your employees, and connect with your customers. By sharing your company’s news and an “inside scoop” of the culture, you will be able to give people an inside look at what your passion is all about and provide real-time conversation with employees and customers.

Make yourself known on your company’s website. By making yourself visible on your company’s website, you can enhance your startup’s credibility. This can be done by promoting your blog on the company’s website and even posting links to your social media accounts. The purpose of being a social CEO is to build engagement with your employees and targeted audiences. When you make yourself available on your company’s website, you are improving the reputation of your company and making your company more personal for customers.

By building your reputation as a social CEO, you will be viewed as good communicator by your employees, as well as your customers. As the CEO of your startup, it should be your goal to promote positive and open communication between yourself and your employees. When you open your connections and allow yourself to be available to your employees on social networks, you will see an improvement in the inspiration, innovation, and culture of your startup.

What are you doing to become a social CEO for your startup?

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Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010). Find Heather on Google+.

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