At Tribal, we enable and coach many executives and leaders to use social media across difference B2B industries including Telco, Manufacturing, IT and Consumer Goods. We’re familiar with the objections and we know what it takes to build their confidence online. Whilst this specific audience is typically the most time poor, their digital footprint often carries the most weight within an organisation. Activating your senior leaders isn’t desirable, it’s essential.
From an employee advocacy perspective, socially active execs and leaders set the tone for others – if employees see leaders active online, it provides silent permission for them to mirror the behaviour.
- By a more than 5 to 1 ratio, employees prefer to work for a CEO who uses digital and social media – Brunswick Group 2020
From a Social Selling perspective, leaders and execs can help build networks within target accounts at senior level.
- 93% of employees agree that CEOs who actively participate in social media can build better connections with customers, employees, and investors – BrandFog 2016
From a recruitment perspective, digitally active executives and leaders play a huge role in talent acquisition.
- 60% of employees considering joining a company will research a CEO’s social media accounts – Brunswick Group 2020
So, how can you take the first steps to activating your executives and leaders online? A good start is profile optimisation on LinkedIn and Twitter. We often follow that up with a structured coaching program to support leaders and executives into embedding the behaviour change that’s required – nothing too intensive as they lack time to invest – but just enough to keep them digitally visible and relevant.
Here Are The Set Of Questions We Outline In Preparation For A Profile Optimisation Request:
1. Can you give some background information about your particular business unit/department Ask them to explain, in their own words, the role that they do and how it impacts the business. It may feel odd asking this question when you work for the business, but this is where you understand their purpose and keywords.
2. Can you profile a typical customer for me please? Industry? Seniority? Role title? Depending on the executive, they may not have direct contact with customers so consider asking who their stakeholders are. This helps you to understand who your copy is intending to reach and the audiences they are trying to connect with.
3. What market/topics/categories are relevant to you? We’re seeking out interests and passions in this question - the topics and themes that your executive/leader is interested in. This will help with the content strategy but also the keyword optimisation of their profile.
4. What questions do your customers typically want you to answer? What are their pain points? Most senior employees will have some engagement with customers so whist they may not directly get questions from them, it is expected that they talk to them. They’ll understand, at a high level,
why customers invest in their brand and their differentiators so ask them to explain that in their own words.
5. Could you list some keywords relevant to your role/industry? Your executive/leader may not ‘think’ in keywords so read the situation – you may have to skip this question if you’re getting enough from previous questions. This helps you to optimise the copy and set up content searches relevant to your executive/leader. We also do hashtag strategy research at this point.
6. Who do you believe is your target audience for your social media activity? This will help you to finalise who the audience is that you’re trying to reach with your profile optimisation. Is it peers within other companies, employees within their team or perhaps new talent to join the organisation. This will determine the goal of their activity.
7. Are there any particular publications/blogs/sites you follow and find interesting and influential? Sometimes they won’t read anything (time again!) but other times you will get some insight into where they consume content and their go-to publications for inspiration. This can help with network building and content creation.
8. Are there any individuals you follow that are particularly influential or inspirational (either personally or professionally)? This is a brilliant question because you’re starting to understand who influences them. You won’t always get an answer because sometimes they need to think on it. But once you understand who influences and inspires them, you can look for look-a-like influencers for them to follow but also model your social coaching approach towards those they are inspired by.
9. What are your own personal objectives & goals for this program Depending on whether they volunteered or were nominated, you’ll get a different answer for this question. Many executives/leaders are just curious to learn and understand more about social media. Others are determined to increase their activity level. Be mindful of the motivation behind the optimisation – are they bought in or were they told to take part?
10. Is there anything else important to you for your profile and activity in this program (ie. Outside influences & interests)? This question is important because this is where you give your executive leader the opportunity to ask other questions. For example, one executive said to me “my son is always on Instagram and I have absolutely no idea how that works – I’d love to learn”. Easy! We switch out part of a coaching session to follow up on that very topic. Be flexible and take them on a learning journey that suits them!
There are two key factors that you need to be aware of when coaching leaders and executives.
First, the less people you have on the call the better. It’s hard for executives and leaders to open in an authentic way when they have an audience on the phone listening in.
Second, listen to the little phrases. Authenticity is key. Most writers can create copy with a short briefing and some keyword focus – it’s what they do (and they’re very good at it). Be especially careful when dealing with the voice of your most senior and visible leaders. Folks will know if the copy lacks their voice and tone. Keep it real.
If you need support revising the profiles of your executives and leaders and indeed coaching to embed the behaviour change, look at our service offerings