Friday, July 19, 2013

Are You A Social CEO?

In the age of social networking, is it enough that only your company and its brands have a social presence? Or is it essential for the top leadership of the company also to be active and engaging on the social media?

Weber Shandwick, a digital communications agency released a research report in May this year titled The Social CEO: Executives Tell All which explored the question- are socially active CEOs beneficial for an organisation and its executives. Here is what the report revealed:

76% of executives (surveyed worldwide) wanted their CEOs to be active and engaging on social media. 

The benefits (according to the executives) of a social CEO were many, like being able to share company news, impart thought, leadership information, build company (and employees) reputation and initiate one-to-one communication with employees and customers alike.

52% of executives said that social CEOs were a source of inspiration.

46% of the executives felt that having social CEOs made them feel technologically advanced.

So you see, as consumers seek interesting but authentic and authoritative communication from brands, the onus falls on the CEOs to step on the social bandwagon and lead from the front in listening to and engaging with their customers.

One such social CEO is Peter Aceto of ING Direct Canada. One of his admirers, Carmine Galloa a communications guru and also a Forbes contributor, describes Aceto as “active, authentic and very transparent bank executive and a “student of leadership who shares case studies and best practices from leaders in other fields”. In fact, Aceto was named Toronto’s Communicator of the Year in 2010.

According to Carmine Gallo, Aceto’s social media efforts are very open and direct. He openly communicates with his customers and employees like you would do with your friends and family members. He uses his Twitter handle @CEO_INGDIRECT to talk to his customers and stakeholders about finance related issues. 

In fact Aceto (in conversation with Gallo) seconds the Weber Shandwick study finding when he stresses that it is essential for CEOs to be engaging on social media because this increases the credibility of the organisation and motivates employees. Also, in the wake turbulent markets and global financial crisis, consumers are cautious about receiving information from third parties (read random news articles and blog posts). Therefore, CEO’s blogs, tweets, posts, webinars etc go a long way in restoring the customers’ faith and trust in organisations.

Do you know want CEOs to be active and engaging on the social media? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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