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Four ways chief executives should manage their social media presence

Sarah Pearce offers some important advice for business leaders - and really everyone - when it comes to managing online presence, particularly on social media.

A fancy job title means instant credibility. Ask anyone in your company who has the biggest influence in the world, and most will point to the C-Suite executive or, at the very least, a senior manager. There’s no denying one simple truth: Any name followed by a three letter acronym starting with a C has instant credibility.

On the other hand, built in credibility is not something that the everyday Joe or Jill Bloggs in business have naturally. Because of that, their social media efforts have to begin with establishing credibility. While C-Suite executives aren’t immune to losing their credibility, they can be much more relaxed about building their presence from scratch. Often they can jump straight into creating the right content and determining best message delivery.

There are obvious benefits to being an influencer online, which we’ve talked about in the past. 

If you do want the advantage of having a great presence online, here are 4 simple tips to fast-track your success:

  1. Talk about what you know

With credibility being a fragile thing, it’s safest to talk about the things that you’ve developed over time. Unless you’re some kind of child prodigy, you’ve had years to develop what made you who you are and a valuable leader.

I recommend choosing your top 3 areas of expertise and stick to those topics as much as possible. Don’t know what they are? You can talk with some of your managers and ask them.

  1. Create something valuable (it doesn’t have to be you!)

There’s 3 ways to create content for your social media. You can sit down and type out 1000 words on your topic of choice. This will get your thoughts exactly the way you like them on the net, but it takes a lot of time.

Alternatively, you could pay someone to write something for you. Freelancers are easy to find and relatively cheap but you won’t be displaying your expertise... you’ll be displaying theirs.

I recommend sharing things that you come across that interests you. By adding your 100 words to an existing piece, you’re highlighting your expertise while keeping your time investment low. Share the things that you would read anyway so that you double up on your benefits!

  1. Stay consistent

It doesn’t matter what platform someone discovers you on, your message has to be consistent across everything you’re presence graces. Why? Because they’re all linked together. If you Google my name, you’ll see a message that I try to stick to. If I Google your name, how many messages will I read? What skeletons might I find?

This consistency of presence extends to your profiles. If your LinkedIn profile tells us you’re a CTO of a Fortune 500 company but your Twitter profile says CFO, a reader will start to question you. Questioning the validity of your online persona is a death knell for someone hoping to be an influencer – you need to be above reproach!

I recommend using a 3rd party service like Hootsuite or TweetDeck, where you can place your carefully curated message into different social media sites from the same window. These kinds of services gives you the best overview of what you’ve said.

  1. Use your connections

Along the way, you’ve developed connections. You’ve met with other CEOs, networked with people with established social media presences, and/or met with business royalty. Connecting with the right person, having a natural conversation in public on a social network will have a huge effect on your presence.

I recommend picking your most personable and influential contact and just asking a question. “Hey Sandra, that last conversation was enlightening – what do you think about *insert area of expertise-centric, hotly contested topic here*.

It’s like Julie Meyer said not long ago: Job number 1 of the CEO is to communicate his/her vision to the market. You’ve got to get the market’s attention wherever they are... and these days, they’re usually on their phones surfing social media sites! You have a head start with your instant job-title credibility, now maximise it. Be seen in the right places, in the right ways and leverage your leadership influence-- both personally and professionally.

Sarah Pearce is a professional speaker, business coach, social strategist and author of Online Reputation: Your Most Valuable Asset in a Digital Age. 

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