3 ways CEOs can connect with employees using social media

How blogs, videos and Twitter can connect the top brass with staff.

How blog, video and Twitter can connect the top brass with employees

The CEO wears multiple hats, one of them being the Chief Communicator. It’s easier for the CEO of a startup with 10-25 employees to walk around the office, shake hands and check-in with his/her team versus the CEO of a larger corporation who has a global workforce spread across different time zones.

The end results are the same in both scenarios: re-energizing employee morale, injecting new blood when the going gets tough and strengthening customer loyalty, but the size of the organization defines how the CEO communicates. The bigger and more dispersed the company workforce, the wider communication gap between CEO and the rest of the company. So how can you as the PR counsel help your top brass? Enter social media. Here are three simple steps to get your CEO started.

1. Give your CEO a blog to voice his/her passion: For all the right reasons, the CEO is the biggest cheerleader for the company. Unlike a website or other traditional communication channels, a blog is a direct communication vehicle between the commander-and-chief and the army of soldiers. A blog works tremendously well if the CEO’s opinions and thoughts on industry news and trends are shared without much proofreading and editing from the PR department. A good example of a CEO who gets blogging is the Marriott CEO, Bill Marriott’s blog.

2. Let your CEO talk through videos: How many times have you read through the CEO’s thought leadership piece in the employee newsletter or magazine article? A more enjoyable and effective way for the CEO to communicate with employees or even customers is through videos. Not only will they add a personal touch, but chances are the number of people clicking through to the video is more than those who read a five paragraph narrative. Gary Vaynerchuck is my favorite in terms of using videos to build thought leadership and ultimately drive sales.

3. Extend your CEO’s presence on Twitter: I know your eyes are rolling and you’re saying, “My CEO doesn’t have time to tweet.” I understand that not all CEOs need to tweet, but ask yourself these questions: “Is my target demographic on Twitter?” “Am I reaching key influentials by getting my CEO to tweet at the least twice every day?”

I assume CEOs start and end their days by reading something that pertains to their industry, market, etc. Now make them add their two cents to a hot topic and tweet about it.

There are two benefits to a CEO tweeting: Like a blog, you have minimized the numerous degrees of separation that your stakeholders have with management. And for some reason, when the head honcho of the company comments, or in this case tweets, about an industry hot topic, everyone wants to listen. Here’s a list of CEOs who get Twitter from BusinessWeek.

Gone are the days of C-suite members maintaining a professional distance with employees and conserving their energy to only communicate to investors and media through traditional channels. The smart CEOs are those who engage on an informal level and take their vision directly to their audience.

What are you doing to get your CEO more involved on social networks?

Priya Ramesh heads the social media practice at CRT/tanaka, and blogs at The Buzz Bin.

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