Social C-Suite executives are a little thin on the ground. Considering the stats that tell us how much more successful social businesses are, there seems to be a time lag in the top level picking up the baton.
Companies with socially active leaders are perceived 23% more positively than those with inactive leaders and executive social media engagement results in higher brand recognition, higher levels of employee engagement and performance and an increase in public trust. So there’s no lack of a burning platform.
So, how do you get them on board? We suggest a Social Leadership Program with a clear strategy and goals to match.
How To Structure Your Program
Step 1: Sell The Program Internally
As with any business decision, you need to first convince the decision makers that it’s a worthwhile effort. When it comes to selling your Social Leadership Program, you should be talking about brand recognition, individual and professional gains, and the huge issue of trust when it comes to the public and big business.
Social business is the future in terms of changes to the sales funnel and the buyer journey, but it also has huge positive impacts on the ability to hire talent, existing customers engagement and employee motivation. All in all, you can build a pretty compelling argument.
Step 2: Define The Goals
Your C-suite will love to hear about things they can measure. Proof will be a big convincer so be sure to clearly articulate your goals and expected outcomes. As with any marketing-related activity, there will be as many, if not more, soft outcomes but these are no less valid when it comes to seeing business improvement.
- Brand perception
- Brand reach
- Talent attraction
- Customer engagement
- Thought leadership & influencer status
- Engaging existing employees
Step 3: Shortlist Your Executive Participants
It’s often the case, when it comes to major change, that some participants will be more receptive than others. Be prepared for some members of your C-Suite to need more time. Start by identifying your champions and early adopters. Carry out a ‘social maturity’ audit of your executives to find this out. Add in anyone who’s truly bought in to the idea and keen to give it a try.
It’s far better to run a smaller pilot where you can focus energy and time on willing participants than risk a failed attempt because there are blockers involved. The others are more likely to get involved once they start to see the program in action.
Step 4: Build A Strategy
Select your best-fit channels. It’s fair to say that LinkedIn is probably the most effective social channel when it comes to B2B influencing. Additionally, many social executives are very active on Twitter. Your channels of choice will depend on where your audience is and what the goals of your program are.
Start by making sure you are set for success: participants’ profiles should be optimised, and it’s worth taking a note of everyone’s LinkedIn SSI score as this will be a key (and very visual) measure of improved performance
Finally, don’t forget the element of coaching and training to keep everyone’s enthusiasm up and keep them learning.
Step 5: Activate Social Presence
It’s important to have a clear and robust process for all your content activity. C-suite executives are unlikely to have spare time on their hands, especially during the working day so you need to consider and resolve where ownership lies for content creation, approvals and monitoring for any crisis management requirements.
Typical content for an executive to share includes overarching company culture and CSR-related content; recognition/kudos for employees; leadership insights and advice; industry insights and a little on their personal activities (usually hobbies, wellbeing, motivation) to bring in the human element.
Step 6: Measure And Analyse
Keeping track of your activity and its benefits is critical to proving the success of your Social Leadership Program. What have you agreed to measure? How will you benchmark success? How will your course correct? Your pilot program needs to evolve to become a best practice, high-performing culture.
When it comes to determining metrics, there are many different types. Be sure to steer clear of vanity metrics and instead focus on quality indicators which will drive better relationship building, faster development of deals and a stronger chance of prospects converting.