To Tweet or Not to Tweet?
While few would question the need for most businesses to have some sort of online presence, it is still wise to question exactly who should shape your company's official social networking presence. In particular, you need to decide whether social networking will be left to your communications person/team, or whether senior executives (including your CEO) should also have a presence. Including senior executives (through blog posts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) can help humanize your company and build connections with clients and the public, but if you do go that route, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind, according to branding expert Lida Citroen (lida360.com):
- Honesty: "The social space is too reliant on transparency and honesty to try to "pull one over" on loyal or unsuspecting audiences. CEOs should be truthful and honest in replies, posts and comments. If the truth could pose a conflict (confidentiality, corporate risk or legal action pending), then guidelines and protocol must take over. When these guidelines are in place in advance, CEOs can take the guesswork out of how and when to respond to online discussion."
- Consistency: "If your goal is to have the senior leadership appear on Facebook once a month, then do that. If your CEO wants to Tweet all day long, then that can become the norm. Consistency in message and frequency is key to establishing a voice and credibility in the social space."
- Responsiveness: "Social equity is earned by using the online community for dialog, not monologue. When someone asks a question or shares an idea, it is important to respond to that comment just as you would in person."
- Alertness: Pay attention to what's being discussed and debated online. When the discussion turns political, religious or legal, should you participate? Based on your personal brand goals and the protocol of the corporation, senior executives may or may not want to engage in debate online. It is much smarter to have this decided in advance rather than to find yourself in the midst of a debate that is not consistent with your values or those of the company."
- Authenticity: "While the CEO will likely take to the social networking platform after training and coaching, the most successful way for him or her to engage online is to speak in their own voice, sharing their own passion and concerns and letting their genuineness shine through. Authenticity is king online."