4 ways for execs to leverage social media better

by Samuel Pordengerg Mar 24, 2023 News
4 ways for execs to leverage social media better

We try to shame executives into being on social media for a long time, but the results are mixed. Half of the CEOs in the S&P 500 are on social media. Less than half of that number contributes to social communities. What is that?

Social media is seen as a burden as much as a hobby. The most successful people in the world feel that way. The weight of expectation is one reason it has turned out that way. It can be hard to live with. Some people don't bother. If you don't try, you won't succeed.

Some people who have quit social media only to come back later realize there are benefits to engaging people online. What's the lesson? Do it in a way that's right for you.

If you want to use social media in your career marketing plan but have doubts, here are four ways to trick your brain.

Don’t treat it like an obligation

Execs have full-time responsibilities of running their teams, making hundreds of decisions, traveling, and driving revenue. Contributions to social media will fall to the bottom of the list.

Contributions to social media are not required of you. The internet is doing well without your content. You have made it this far without much investment. The survival of your business is not dependent on your personal brand.

A more fun mentality is one where social media is a reprieve from your other chores.

AndrewYang wrote a book about this. He had a group of people tell him what to post. He didn't have the motivation to start building a brand and audience on the social networking site. He needed to be motivated. He had to find a way to enjoy it.

We bring our best selves to the things we enjoy. Social media is what it is. You won't be posting for a long time if you don't enjoy it.

Think about consistency loosely, on your terms

If you post intermittently, you limit growth, so most social media advice has a mandate to be consistent.

Hews close to the chore territory that is so disabling. You don't need to put hard and fast rules around it, because part of the job is being responsive to what's happening in your world. Most genuine content comes from that area.

You also don't want to be silly. After weeks and months go by since your last post, any momentum you had is gone. It's only useful if it works for you. Even though you know your schedule, habits, and propensity for chaos better than anyone, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • If the news is your muse for social content, try posting in content-consumption mode. It could be first thing in the morning or evenings on the couch with a glass of wine.
  • If Fridays are a little lighter for you, make that your Social Media Friday.
  • If you travel a lot, make downtime at the hotel your photo dump on Instagram.
  • Find out which days and times on your chosen channel(s) give your content the best chance of reaching people and try to do a little more during those times.

Produce for an audience of one

Digital audiences are usually thought of in abstract terms. If you are in B2B or fans of the brand, we should educate the industry on this issue. It shows up in the content when we produce for nobody. The writing is dull and boring, the photos are stock, and the engagement is low.

If you want to give a consumer product update, think of a cousin or niece who is firmly in the target audience and what will get them excited to engage. If you want to get something off your chest, think of a colleague or friend who will agree with you and challenge you to a debate on social media.

I used to work for a startup CEO who pulled his hair out. I couldn't tell who was an excellent self-marketer and who was for real, because I couldn't get enough quality marketing candidates. He published a candid missive, and 24 hours later, the post went viral, and all kinds of people in his network reached out to either commiserate or offer advice.

What's the reason? We discussed whether or not it was a good idea before he wrote it. There have to be other people in this situation. I would like to know what they are doing. He didn't care if the post made him look like a bad hire. He wanted to start a conversation with someone who had been in the same position, and he had someone in mind. That was the reason it worked.

Take pride in contributing to one platform

Some executives don't start because they don't think the job is big enough. They wonder if they should be on TikTok and give up altogether as they prepare to post to social media.

The more places you show up, the further your message will go. Over time, that mindset has degraded social media feeds, where one person or brand posts the same content everywhere and leans back, satisfied that they re-posted the original content.

You want to be where the people you are trying to influence are, but you also want to be at ease with the tools, user experience, conversations, and dynamics. Your audience is likely to pick up and share what you are saying. If there is only one platform that meets all of the criteria, you have an answer on where you should be.

The director of strategy is Brandon Carter.