This Week in Leadership (Nov 29 - Dec 5)
Questions—and answers—about the Omicron variant's impact on organizations. Plus, critical year-end moves to boost your career.
It might have taken the pandemic, but even the boss now knows how critical a strong social media presence has become. Indeed, a new survey found that 62% of Fortune 500 CEOs are now on at least one social media platform, which is a 15% rise from 2019. But the question is, is your own social messaging ready for the approaching post-pandemic period?
Among everything else, COVID-19 has changed our social media patterns. Indeed, career experts say hiring pros are checking candidates’ social media profiles even more carefully than before, looking for authenticity and posts that add value, inspire, or have a personal touch. Sharing your story and expertise through diverse social platforms and features in a manner that gives people “some sense of what you’ve been contributing” to your industry is essential to growing a social media presence, says Deborah Brown, managing principal in Korn Ferry’s Leadership and Talent Consulting practice.
Still, the subtleties in this area are tricky, whether you’re a junior vice president or a CEO. Some tips:
Stay aligned and relevant.
Identify your audience and post material that’s relevant to their needs. Create a strategy to reach out to your target audience to find out “what’s going on”––the issues they’re dealing with––and publish content that addresses those problems, says Brown. It will position executives as industry experts as they “come across as solution providers,” she says. Additionally, it’s important to stay aligned with your company’s values and goals while engaging on social media, says Peter McDermott, a senior client partner in Korn Ferry’s Corporate Affairs Center of Expertise.
Move beyond LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a classic, and it’s the only platform some executives use. However, branching out to platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and more recently Clubhouse has added benefits. Using Facebook as an internal engagement tool bridges the gap between management and employees and helps boost morale, says McDermott.
He says executives posting pictures about their ESG or philanthropic efforts on Instagram can do wonders. “It can be a creative way that speaks volumes more so than a front-page article,” he says. Leveraging Instagram to tell an interesting story––making it visually appealing––“that is likely to attract eyes,” and making sure it holistically aligns with one’s brand can add great value, says Brown.
Unlike other social media platforms, Clubhouse is an audio-only application. Users can join various voice chat rooms to take part in discussions, just listen-in, or even host their own panels to showcase their expertise. While it’s still new territory, Brown says, observing what other executives are doing on the platform and emulating that type of content while also presenting one’s “unique experiences and distinguishable features” can build an audience.
Balance analytics with storytelling.
It’s crucial to assess analytics for social media posts. It helps you understand what’s working and what isn’t, and based on that, you can improve your content strategy. Brown says while figuring out your brand message and the type of content to post, it’s helpful to look at some of the analytics “by going in different directions and using that to inform how you approach things.” But it shouldn’t be your primary driver, and the focus should still be on “telling good stories and teaching what you know,” she says.
Send an authentic message.
Sharing accomplishment journeys and stories executives are genuinely proud of are more likely to come off as authentic and will stand out, says Brown. Executives should work with their communications team to use a medium that’s best suited for both themselves and their audience, says McDermott. In numerous scenarios, executives were more comfortable on a smartphone camera rather than a formal studio setting, he says. In such cases, McDermott says communications teams could film executives walking the halls as they engage with employees and customers and then post it on both internal and external social channels.
Have a fallback plan.
When executives are active on social media, they’re opening up a door for people to engage with them––either positively or negatively. Hence, it’s necessary to have a crisis plan, says McDermott. He says executives should anticipate and prepare for situations where social media posts could backfire. Having a plan for “everything and anything that could go wrong” and considering diverse points of view while making decisions on what to put out is imperative, McDermott says. “Because social media is forever, once it’s out on the internet, it’s not coming back.”