Thursday, March 29, 2012

The pressure's on for the CEO to Tweet

It's a generational thing. Seems to me, the older the business person the more they don't understand, or don't get Twitter and Social Media. The younger the more they do.

It's a generalization I know, but I see it play out with customers (and peers on public boards) all the time, and whether it's Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Facebook the more senior (in age) an executive is, the less likely they are to be engaged in social media. Every decade makes a significant difference, unless the exec is unusually communicative (who, like me, likes to connect in many different ways) or they are in the business of branding or social media. Enterprise execs... not so much.

But the market has already moved to embrace Twitter, the consumer market that is and increasingly the enterprise market. And CEOs ignore that at their peril. A new study by BRANDfog makes this very apparent. Top executives tend to be slow to embrace social media themselves, especially if they are in B2B businesses, and yet, according to eMarketer, BRANDfog finds that "consumers believe C-suite engagement in social media can benefit how they view a brand and its executive leadership. The majority of survey respondents, 78%, said CEO participation in social media leads to better communication, while 71% said it leads to improved brand image and 64% said it provides more transparency".

If executives don't swim in social media to some extent (albeit in a time efficient way) and educate themselves, they will lose out in their customer relationships. And having someone ghost write for you doesn't work in the long run. Your readers can tell the difference. (btw same thing is true for sales execs on Chatter: don't ghost it, do it yourself).

You can't hide on mahogany row any more. Your constituents - your customers and employees  - want to know who you are. Transparency is in fashion and it's not going out of style any time soon.

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