How to make your C-Suite go social?


Developing digital presence of C-Suites is crucial for company’s image. Employers are on social networks, business partners and customers are on social networks, and what is even more important – competitors are on social networks. However, less than 1/3 of top CEO’s are on social media (source: Forbes).

Companies where CEOs are present in social media and use it to connect with all the shareholders are more successful in many ways than those who don’t. According to the 2013 BRANDfog report, “innovative C-Suite and senior executives are at the forefront of social engagement, utilizing social media to attract new talent, deepen brand loyalty, increase purchase intent, and establish brand transparency.” At the same time, in general CEOs are often reluctant to join social media because of potential risks and unwillingness to adapt to greater transparency and changes. So how can we motivate C-suites to participate?

Kadushin, one of the most renowned social networks analysts, mentions that “keeping up with the Joneses”, i.e. motivation to compare oneself with others in the same network, is one of the fundamental aspects of social networks. We can suppose that this motivation is stronger for those network members who have already achieved a lot (like CEOs). So, if we give our C-suites a person to keep up with, maybe they will go social just for the sake of this competition?

Klout score can be used as a simple tool to measure C-suites presence on social media. In addition to it, Klout will allow them to keep track of “the Joneses”’ success. The only problem is to find the “Joneses”. i.e. a right person to compete with (this should be definitely another CEO that they are aware of and who has a strong presence in social media).

How do you think, will this work? What are your ideas?

Here are some articles on the topic:


Posted on February 1, 2014, in COMM506, MACT, Social Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Interesting thoughts! On the one hand, the competition for those in the C-suite might benefit from learning and trying to keep up with others at that level. However, I think there are several hurdles to overcome. First, whether those top executives have the time to engage meaningfully in social media (not just hiring someone to manage it for them). Second, whether their skill-set would allow them to successfully navigate the challenges and pitfalls of being in such an open environment. Third, whether their involvement makes them too accessible to the competition. If they are on-line, available, visible and transparent on social media, for the reasons of overcoming the competition, does that not also mean that they are providing fodder for their competition at the same time?

  2. This is an area I imagine will evolve immensely in the next couple of years. At NAIT our president has started a blog, although it isn’t updated often. I think it is written actually by him. probably because it is so sporadic. If it was more often, I’d think he had a ghost-writer. I imagine the transparency as well as the time commitment of curating and responding to comments is what leads people to use PR professionals to manage their social media.

  3. I think it comes down to social media strategy. It might not be the best way for every CEO to conduct business. Sean pointed out some of the potential negative impacts. Social media could be time consuming if direct contact with customers/clients is not necessary for them as CEO, and also whether they have enough knowledge about social media to use it effectively.

    However, it could be beneficial for CEO’s who already communicate directly with their clients often (it would just be a shift in medium from phone, and email to social media). I think businesses being on social media, being managed by a communications/marketing/PR professional is very beneficial. Klout is one way to measure impact, but it also has many factors to be considered for true validity. In terms of measuring overall social media impact there are probably several measures that could be taken (maybe Jason Buzzell could weigh in on those options).

  1. Pingback: Go, Network! | ForcedReadingForMyCohorts

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