There’s been conversations, several articles, and research recently on how a small percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs are active in social. In those pieces, people seem to be attributing lack of CEO participation to reluctance in opening up to social media for their organization. Some are even suggesting that this low percentage means they don’t ‘get’ the importance of social as it pertains to customer service, engagement, and the like.
There’s a huge disconnect in this thinking, and the blanket statement that CEOs should be using social media doesn’t provide enough context to the argument at hand.
There’s been assumptions being made that because a CEO doesn’t utilize social media that they don’t support social within the organization. Is it ‘cool’ to see your CEO tweet? Of course. Does it mean he/she doesn’t get social or provide you with the support or resources to be effective in the space? Definitely not. Our CEO doesn’t tweet or participate in social much at all outside of LinkedIn but in the same vein, completely supports our team in pushing social business further and further every day. She’s been vocal about social and how it’s become an integral part of our business and that’s the top down support I appreciate from our leadership, not a tweet or blog post.
Small vs. Big Biz
Looking at this argument from a different lens, the idea of your CEO being active within social could have a huge impact if you’re a small-mid sized business. A realm that may require a more vocal push from your leadership to create awareness, activity, and motivation for your organization. Though I don’t agree that it makes sense for all businesses, there is an opportunity (for small or big) to utilize your leadership directly within social to make a bigger impact for your organization, create deeper trust, and be even firmer with your message/direction.
At the end of the day, your CEO and leadership is focused on business results and getting things done to ensure the organization is continuing to move forward. That’s their focus, all the while ensuring that the proper support and resources are provided where social can continue to move forward.
Our team has been empowered to push social throughout the business and implement programs that have made big strides in our organization. This was possible thanks to our CEO and leadership backing our focus but also, having a culture that allows employees to be empowered to innovate and take ownership of business impacting strategies. Our CEO not being directly involved in social did not negatively affect this.
Though there are different ways to cut it, CEOs in social isn’t always a necessity, maybe just a nice to have. What do you all think?