Social Leadership: Why the CEO Needs to Step Up and Start Communicating Socially
A lot of companies are opening their doors to social channels and realising the benefits of being a social company. And the change is often driven from the ground up as more and more workers use social tools to share information more readily. There are a few leaders to ‘get’ social and embrace it as part of their communications strategy.
Michael Dell and Richard Branson spring to mind (Richard also blogs regularly). Both CEOs share their business ideas and personal musings with their followers. Their daily activities give readers a glimpse into their business, their goals and their activities, their connections and their interactions. This transparent approach builds trust with their customers which builds customer loyalty.
But unfortunately, CEO’s and leaders of large businesses such as Virgin and Dell are in the minority. Most leaders leave social communications to the marketing and communications teams, their PR and customer support channels.
Its really important that leaders show commitment to this new way of networking. 96% of Generation Y have joined a social network.
That’s 96% of your Graduate intake, 96% of your interns
96% of your high potential employees, your potential fast track next generation leaders
96% of the next generation of CEOs who already use social tools extensively
So that’s 96% of the next generation of leaders who will change the way that the business communicates with its customers. But waiting for Generation Y to take the reins of some businesses, might be too late for the organisation. Company leaders need to become more social to move with the pace of communications change. They need to know what their customers are saying about them, and they need to respond using the same channels. They need to be there online and they need to be listening.
Embracing the see change and becoming a social business shows leadership and vision. Leaders can benefit in several ways:
- Enhanced connection to customers, openness and honesty with communication and transparency.
- Market insight and research from your customers
- Get the right talent by recruiting across the channels
- Show potential employees that you use innovation throughout the business
- Showcase your product news, company news and update your channels
Using the social channels can get your business more exposure, increase awareness of the brand and improve perception. Unfortunately whilst CEO’s are convinced that social media = Facebook = flippant communications and privacy issues, they will be are resistant to moving towards enterprise channels of communication such as blogs and video.
It seems like at the moment, we’ve still got a lot of work to do..
Eileen Brown is a social media consultant and brand elevation specialist at Amastra. She is the author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business and writes the Social Business column for ZDNet. Contact her at http://amastra.co.uk
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