Social media is all the rave, and I often hear CEOs say they know they need to do something, but they don’t know what. That’s why I wanted to address this question:
How do you use social media profiles as a CEO and what have you learned along the way?
Because there are several tools you can choose from, it sometimes prevents us from doing anything. Doing nothing certainly is an option, but to remain relevant and contemporary, I think it’s a good idea to participate. I chose Facebook and LinkedIn as the two social networking sites that I focus on.
As a company, we have engaged consultants to help us navigate the opportunities and identify specific strategies that would work for us – and our team members. That has included training our sales professionals on how to effectively use LinkedIn in their jobs. We also have a corporate LinkedIn page and a Facebook site that we consistently update with relevant topics.
Besides a blog, I have found value in LinkedIn as CEO. I enjoy reading the top 10 headlines and have used LinkedIn as an extension of my email account, often sharing articles I think my connections may find interesting.
When I first started using LinkedIn, I was proactive in making connections. Today, I get far more requests than I ever make, and I am quite open to accepting connections. I see it as a way to expand my circle of influence, recruit new talent (one of my top jobs as CEO) and as an increasingly valuable marketing tool.
Before I accept an invitation to connect with someone who I’m not acquainted with, I read the person’s profile. This gives me an idea of where they work, where they went to school and how they are connected to our industry and markets. Whether they own a local pizza place or are the CEO of a corporation, I may be interested in connecting even if we’ve never met.
Then, I look through their connections. As I have shared before, who you hang with is a reflection of who you are. I often find we are in the same circles and just haven’t met. LinkedIn provides a great opportunity to extend a virtual handshake – and possibly ignite the beginning of a business relationship.
With all the emails I get these days from people that want to introduce themselves, they often get overlooked (deleted). However, I view LinkedIn as somewhat of a communication filter and do read all the messages I receive. It allows me a more refined way to expand my database of contacts and connect in a more personal way.
Surely, Facebook can do that, too, and has been effective for both companies and professionals interested in building their brand. We’ve seen results for our company.
I continue to reserve Facebook for personal use; however, among my “friends” you’ll find family members, classmates, co-workers, vendors and often customers. While I don’t look to Facebook to expand a professional agenda, I have found that it still naturally does.
I get to learn about our customers’ lives beyond work, share in their interests and hobbies and watch them enjoy their children and grandchildren. Facebook allows others to get to know the personal side of me a little better as well.
I get a handful of messages every month from a Facebook friend who’s asking about a job for a relative, friend – or himself. I know we have interviewed people at Marco because of a Facebook message and the endorsement they received. Another way to leverage social media is to use this technology as a recruiting tool.
Whether you’re intentional about it or not, Facebook is defining your brand – personally and professionally. I post almost 100 percent exclusively about my family and manage my Facebook account much like I would manage any business account. I know I have the freedom to talk about anything I want and I’ve seen business people do just that and it hurt their career or business. I choose to mind my brand constantly and intentionally and recommend other professionals to do the same.
I think it’s a good idea to participate in social media – it helps you maintain a contemporary profile, expand your business connections, and stay relevant with today’s communication tools.