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4 Good Reasons Why CEOs Need a Presence on Twitter

A report in the Telegraph at the beginning of 2015 suggested only 7 of the FTSE 100 CEOs were active on Twitter. This may have improved over the following 18 months, but there isn’t any online analysis to suggest this, and my guess is that it won’t have improved as significantly as you’d expect. However, the reluctance towards Twitter from CEOs is understandable. It is another daily task to add to an already unmanageable workload, or maybe it is sticking one’s head above the parapet that is the reason for the hesitancy. Alternatively it could just be not really knowing what to Tweet about.

We will tackle over coming these hurdles at the end of this blog, but first I need to convince you why you should use Twitter as I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives that maybe associated with it. So, here are my 4 reasons why I think a CEO in today’s business world should have a say online in 140 characters or less:

Personal branding
By having a profile of Twitter and regularly interacting with people within the industry in which you operate will increase your profile throughout this network. It gives you a platform to demonstrate that you are a thought leader regarding topics that effect your industry and this in turn can potentially turn into new opportunities.

For example, a CEO of a manufacturing organisation may have a particularly interesting take on IoT and the implementation of automation. Because of this they may be commissioned to write an article in an industry specific publication or possibly give a presentation on the subject. This is not only beneficial for their own personal profile, but also increases awareness of their organisation, which in turn can attract new business.

Attracting talent
Having a Twitter presence provides you with a platform to continuiously promote the company culture of your organisation. By tweeting company news such as the announcement of a project completion, nominations for awards, charity events and individual staff achievements will give people in the industry a sense of what it is like to be a part of your business.

Also by regularly participating in online debates and commenting on relevant issues relating to your industry you will attract the attention of people who share and admire your points of view. Not only will these talent individuals be attracted to working with you and the company you represent, but they are also likely to have a better fit in terms of company culture. You will also get a better understanding of the talent in the market place who can be approached directly when an opportunity presents itself.

Counter measures
It is good practise for a company to monitor for any mentions that they may receive online. There are various tools which allow you to do this such as Google Alerts and Twitter keyword searches in Hootsuite. If you don’t have an online presence yourself this is a missed opportunity to address comments whether they are positive or negative. For example, thanking a customer for their endorsement or rectify a complaint they may have.

How much interaction you can provide personally as the CEO will very much depend on the size of your company. Your company may have its own Twitter account, but it will have a much greater impact to see the CEO connecting with people, at least with regards to some of the larger issues, rather than a faceless organisation. Similarly by having a Twitter presence and building a following it will also give you a platform to address any negative PR directly.

Leading by example
The more staff who share positive news regarding your organisation across their social media platforms the greater exposure your business will receive to potential customers and future employees. As the CEO you must lead by example. If you are seen interacting online and it is encouraged then you employees will follow suit.

Overcoming the hurdles

Time to Tweet
The thought of tweeting several times a day may seem overwhelming, but with smartphones, the Twitter app and tweet scheduling platforms such as Buffer and Hootsuite engaging with Twitter needn’t be particularly time consuming. It is also easy to source relevant content and topics to discuss through platforms such as Google Alerts, Feedly and Buzzsumo. Time to scan and engage on Twitter can be ring fenced daily so that content can be scheduled and interaction can be carried out on a more ad –hoc basis. Once you are up and running Twitter will soon become part of the daily routine rather than an additional chore.

What to Tweet
Like any form of writing when you’re staring at the blank Tweet box for the first time it may be difficult to know what to say. But the more you write the easier it becomes and there is a plethora of topics you can talk about. Here is a list to get you started.

• Company news
• News about your industry
• Offer you opinion regarding events in your industry
• Take part in related Twitter chats.
• Set up a Twitter Q & A session
• Set polls/ ask opinions.

By engaging in the above you will not only improve your own personal brand within the market place, but you will also increase your company’s brand awareness. You may not want to share information about your private life, but even what you do outside of work will be of interest to your followers as it will allow them to relate to you as a person.

Being exposed
Of course, constantly communicating in a public arena does have its pitfalls. If you don’t know the story of Justine Saccos then it is worth reading as it perfectly demonstrates how one thoughtless Tweet can have disastrous consequences. But actually the rules of Twitter aren’t any different to the rules of communication in everyday life (Even “hastag” has been adopted into every day speech). i.e. don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say in a room full of people. Stick with this rule and you shouldn’t go wrong.

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