The slides embedded above stem from a presentation that I made this morning to a group of professional businessmen and women in Efrat, Israel. They wanted to know: how can I extend my network through social media? After I left the meeting, I began to think – why isn’t the CEO and Executive Director of every corporation personally engaging actively on at least one social media platform or network? Isn’t this the obvious way to extend the reach of the company? Social media is all about the personal connection – and all stakeholders crave that personal connection and engagement (and direct access!) with company decision-makers.
If you are the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization, or the CEO of a business, you shoud extend the reach of your company just by participating in social networks. Think about Microsoft and Bill Gates, Virgin and Richard Branson, or Donald Trump and Trump Enterprises. These men built their businesses strategically, and leveraged their personal brands as well. Richard Branson knows that he represents his many Virgin holdings (record company, airline, etc) whenever he blogs, and he wants to extend himself online in order to further promote his business interests.
Your organization is no different. Your CEO, your Executive Director, is the face of the organization publicly. He or she represents your company at public events, on memos and letters, and on the streets of your town. The question is – why limit your CEO’s presence just to the streets of your town?
- Businesses and organizations are no longer local
- Opportunities are no longer local
- Customers, stakeholders, donors are no longer local
Neither should your CEO be local. He or she should be actively engaging on social networks: meeting potential collaborators, stakeholders, enthusiasts, donors, customers and connectors.
If your company or organization has a standard company profile on social networks such as Facebook (page) or Linkedin (company profile) or Twitter (company identity that tweets) or any of the many other social networks, that’s great. But now – ask yourself – shouldn’t the CEO or the Executive Director also be on those sites personally connecting and extending the company’s brand?
The answer is YES.
YES figure out who the company wants to reach.
YES the CEO should be active on at least two social networks
YES the CEO should consider blogging to create depth for the company’s brand.
If your CEO or Executive Director doesn’t know how to get started, I’ve created a very basic Powerpoint presentation at the top of this post for beginners.
When the CEO begins to actively engage with his/her stakeholders online, exciting and magical things happen: your stakeholders find and connect with you, they tell others, and the organization’s brand awareness grows. Not the least of all – the CEO connects directly to the people that care the most about the company. That’s priceless for customer relations and information-gathering.
Beth Kanter, social media strategist and thinker, has also recently written a blog post about nonprofit CEOs who tweet on Twitter. The list is growing as people add their names in the comments section. It’s an informative post about the specific benefits a CEO will gain from actively using Twitter, and reiterates several points made here.
If you’re just getting started, or your CEO hasn’t yet decided to start “friending” “tweeting” and “linking” – the slide show offers a few very simple tips and introductions to social networking for business and branding.