This is a guest post from Megan Jasin.
A few weeks ago I read an article that stated “less than two percent of Fortune 500 CEOs tweet themselves.” This statistic didn’t surprise me, but I was disappointed to see that this number hasn’t changed over the past three years.
In 2009, when I started using Twitter and Facebook for business reasons, I could understand why executives were afraid to join the social media conversation. It was unchartered territory that even PR pros couldn’t grasp. Most PR executives I worked with in 2009 did not pitch via Twitter, and traditional agencies were just starting to build internal social media teams.
So why isn’t the C-suite jumping into social media? No Intern could ever provide the same voice as a CEO, just as it would be hard for a CEO to write in a less experienced tone. Yet, more and more often I am hearing stories from entry-level graduates who are typing correspondences and editorial calendars under the assumption of a reputable corporate personality.
I did a lot of research on this topic and came up with three honest reasons that C-suite executives should Tweet for themselves.
1) It’s refreshing to read unscripted content, ideas and opinions from today’s corporate leaders. Some of my favorite corporate Twitter handles to follow are @seanmcginnis, @thisissethsblog, @ginidietrich, @tamcdonald, @DanielNewmanUV, @chuckhemann and @JoeShannahan.
Why do I follow these leaders? It’s simple: They are real. They pay attention to real conversations in real-time. They comment directly on other industry leaders’ articles, under their own identities. They understand and relate to their target audiences in a way that other CEOs avoiding social media cannot.
2) There is less risk of a PR crisis for the executive and his or her company. Yes, it’s more difficult to critique yourself than it is an employee—but you also avoid a lot of headache by preventing a personal crisis at the hands of someone else’s ideas. Your employees are not you, and who knows the company better than someone that has probably worked at various positions over a period of years?
I once blogged for a CEO because he said he didn’t have time for social media. Translation: I don’t understand social marketing, and I’d prefer you to tackle that medium. After a few months, I told him my voice would never be as authentic as his, because he had years more experience in that industry than I did. While I successfully built the company’s blog and social media channels from scratch, those marketing channels went mute after I left the company. I failed to teach them the value of a Tweet, and it’s part of my mission for clients I’m now working with as a small business owner.
3) It’s good practice for CEOs, CMOs, CFOs and Managers looking to connect directly with consumers and learn future behavioral trends. Whether you’re trying to increase your social media followers, gain new business or create a cross-promotional relationship with a brand, grassroots research is invaluable. YOU hold the reigns. YOU learn how people communicate online. YOU respond in your own voice. And, most importantly, you get the opportunity to understand your audience’s needs and your buyers’ demands.e that medium. After a few months, I told him my voice would never be as authentic as his, because he had years more experience in that industry than I did. While I successfully built the company’s blog and social media channels from scratch, those marketing channels went mute after I left the company. I failed to teach them the value of a Tweet, and it’s part of my mission for clients I’m now working with as a small business owner.
These one-on-one conversations can only help your business and personal reputation because you’re controlling the path of that conversation. It’s like driving the first car of a roller coaster, laying the tracks in front of you with the goal of creating a smooth ride for your fellow passengers.
These are just a few of my thoughts on this topic, and I’d love to hear yours. I grew up with a cell phone in my hand, but I’m still learning how it got there.
About Megan Jasin
As founding Principal of Jasin Communications, Megan Jasin has built her Chicago-based business by implementing long-term brand ambassadors and growth incentives for B2B and B2C clients. She utilizes a variety of marketing strategies and works with start-ups in the food, health, fitness, social media and consumer industries. If you’re interested in working with Ms. Jasin, follow her on Twitter @IowaHawkeyeMeg or connect with her on LinkedIn.