3 min read

How To Help Your Executives Become Thought Leaders on Social Media

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Building brand awareness and thought leadership for your company isn’t possible without a robust social media strategy. You’re probably thinking, “Sure, tell me something I don’t know.” But are you focusing on a pivotal element of that social media strategy – executive social management? Simply creating content from your brand pages isn’t enough anymore.

According to Hootsuite, 76% of leaders believe having an executive who’s active on social media enhances brand credibility in the market. Social media is space where followers can connect on a more personal level with the people they follow, especially on a workplace-focused platform like LinkedIn. This kind of organic interaction helps executives connect with stakeholders, prospective customers and employees in an approachable and direct way. By participating in relevant industry conversations, sharing news and engaging with their network, executives establish themselves as thought leaders in their fields, giving them credibility and furthering personal and company visibility.

The bottom line: Executive thought leadership on social media is an overlooked art that is a fit – and must – for all leaders. Here are three ways to help your organization’s executives become thought leaders on social media.

 

1. Build a team to help

We know executives are busy – often social media is the last thing on their minds. But they don’t always have to be the one putting the pen to paper on every post and hitting send. This is where the executive can ask for help from experts at their organization. Create a social media management team to own the process including researching and drafting content, editing and scheduling on the corresponding profile(s). Content can range from sharing company updates, promoting award wins, commenting on trending news, sharing personal anecdotes, engaging in relevant industry conversations and more.

The executive whose profile is front and center should have regular calls – think once a quarter – with the social media management team to brainstorm topics, carve out a niche in their industry, align on hot takes and review all the content before it is posted publicly. This way, leaders know what content is going out before it’s public, but they don’t have to spend hours researching and drafting content themselves. A clear process allows leaders to participate in important industry topics and remain relevant while taking some of the work off their shoulders.

 

2. Commit to a steady posting cadence

Social media experts know it’s not the frequency of posting that matters most; it’s all about consistency. This means when they agree on an executive social media management strategy, they’re committing to it. Profiles can’t go from posting twice a week to once a month when calendars get crazy. The team and executive should agree on a certain number of posts per week on each platform – we recommend between three and four on LinkedIn to start and at least three per week on Twitter. If they’re active one day and silent another, followers and stakeholders will start to question: “What’s going on internally? Why are they staying quiet? They pride themselves on being transparent, but they aren’t commenting on this news story that directly impacts their business?” Posting at a steady cadence instills trust in followers that they’re a knowledgeable news source and can be relied on to discuss what is going on in their industry.

 

3. Create engaging content

Executives aren’t going to demonstrate thought leadership by regurgitating bland content. They also can’t exclusively reshare posts from the corporate channels or only feel comfortable commenting on the most obvious industry trends. Instead, they must share hot takes and establish a personal voice to differentiate their content on and make it memorable on crowded feeds. Most importantly, they must post things that will entice their audience to engage. Calls-to-action like polls or, “Comment below,” may seem simple, but they have great impact. Not only do engagements prompt conversations, but they also allow posts to have greater reach beyond direct connections. The more popular a post becomes, the more likely it is for the platform’s algorithm to push it in front of others.

When establishing your executives as thought leaders on social media, take risks and ask for opinions; otherwise, they’ll blend into the noise around them. Followers are inundated with content. A hot take will help your executives stand out, grab audience attention and leave followers wanting more.

 

Your leaders are an extension of your brand and leveraging their social media channels is an opportunity many organizations overlook. Social platforms are a way to reach your stakeholders and establish a community, and leveraging social media is a non-negotiable for executives who aim to be industry thought leaders.

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