There has always been a case for the Social CEO and activation of leaders on social media but never more so than now. Offices are empty and employees are working from home where possible. The traditional town halls and leadership tours are on hold. No-one can accurately predict when, or indeed if, normal work life will resume.
This seismic and unexpected shift in working practices has caused many leaders to rethink their communications strategy. Until now, many leaders have little or no digital footprint. Their visibility is now confined to Zoom calls, emails and Slack conversations but this isn’t scalable.
If you’re managing a large team that stretches across geographic regions and time zones, scaling your approach without losing authenticity is critical - this is where social media can help.
Investing in your digital footprint, as a leader, will be key to connecting with your stakeholders in an authentic way and it’s important for several reasons:
- Your customers want to reach you
- Your employees want to see you
- Your investors will be monitoring you
- Your prospects won’t miss you!
There is no better time to accelerate your digital presence and provide the support and reassurance your communities are looking for right now and here’s why.
Your Customers Want To Reach You
Sure, they have your email address and your phone number. They know how to contact you, but will they remember to?
Nothing can replace face-to-face meetings with customers. Relationships are built through conversation and contact with people we know, like and trust. However, when these options are taken away, we need to find alternative ways to keep the relationships alive.
Building a social presence online keeps you front of mind with your network when you’re not physically sat in front of them. As a leader, if keeps you visible and relevant so that your customers can reach you if they need to.
Your Employees Want To See You
Your employees are likely to be experiencing several different emotions right now from loneliness to complete exhaustion. Empathy and support is what your team needs right now. According to McKinsey, communicating clearly, simply and frequently is essential.
Edelman recently surveyed several countries and found 63% of employees said that they would believe information about the virus from their employer, versus 58% that trusted government websites or 51% that trusted the traditional media. Trust in leadership has just gone up.
It’s a good time to drop the ‘suit and tie’ and start to show your human side. Let’s face it, we’re all seeing each other’s home office setups (and pets in some cases) via video conference so embrace the opportunity to build relationships on a different level with your employees.
More than that, employees want to see their leaders where they’re hanging out. Strength of leadership presence needs to be felt not just in the company walls but outside them.
Your Investors Will Be Monitoring You
How you react in this crisis will be watched by your investors. I’m no investor relations expert but I do know that how you, as a leader, manage crisis communications will be critical.
Effective cost management is now a matter of importance for large and small companies. Revenue is likely to be unpredictable for the foreseeable future and communicating this uncertain outlook to investors is likely to be challenging.
Keeping a pulse on fast-moving trends will be essential when it comes to planning and forecasting. Creating a digital presence will help you connect to your customers, the market and shifts in the industry more directly and in real-time.
Your Prospects Won’t Miss You!
Quite harsh, I know. But it’s true. When you go absent on social media people don’t necessarily miss you. They continue to engage with those that are most present in their feed – your competitors perhaps. It’s not until you come back that people realise you were gone.
If you want to remain relevant and visible on social media, your activity needs to be consistent. You don’t need to be everywhere all the time, but you do need to be some places some of the time.
Building a routine where you spend 10-15 minutes a dau on your primary social media channels 2-3 times a week will be enough to get you started. Where you might need most help is when it comes to crafting your content strategy. What do you post? What do you want to say? Knowing this will make it easier for you in the long run.
As a leader, crafting a digital presence is no longer a nice to have. It’s essential. Staying connected, relevant and authentic will be the difference between leaders that fade into the background and those the shine.
Culture is determined by the way leaders behave and guide their organisation, especially during a crisis. How leaders behave now will determine how organisations will come out the other side and they have a choice – to embrace the digital opportunity or not.
In many ways, the crisis a thrown a spotlight onto a topic that was always important but probably wasn’t considered urgent for many leaders. Well, now it is.