The social media CEO

The time for executives to be on social media is not coming, it has well and truly arrived.

Answer this: Who is better placed to communicate an organisation’s message online, than the team at the top?

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, no one. People within the organisation, and increasingly the wider public, want to hear from organisational leaders on issues that matter.

  • 71% say “It’s critically important for my CEO to respond in challenging times.”
  • 64% say “I will buy or boycott a brand solely based on its position on a social or political issue.”
  • 76% say “CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting on government.”

A social CEO brings a level of credibility, impact and ultimately humanity to the table that corporate channels cannot match. And according to a Hootsuite report, executives agree.

Around 86 percent of executives in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia believe having a CEO active on social media is positive for a company’s reputation, and 76 per cent believe it enhances credibility in the market.

However, despite the research on the positive value of social media, most CEOs and executives are reluctant to engage online.

Embracing social media may not come naturally to all CEOs, it may even be uncomfortable but ultimately, it’s where people are communicating. If you’re not there too, it’s a missed opportunity.

So how do we do it?

Start with strategy. Let’s take Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, one of the world’s top social media CEOs as an example.

At their talk at the IABC world conference, Tracy Harlow Vice President of Digital Strategy and Brand Engagement and Micah Laney Senior Manager of Executive Digital Strategy talked about Walmart’s organisational goal and McMillon’s role online.

With an organisation that has 11,300 stores in 27 countries and 2.2 million associates, how can the CEO contribute to communicating their goal of being the most trusted brand in retail to so many people? Through effective use of social media that’s how.

Knowing your why is the most important first step – to be effective on social media you need to understand why you are there in the first place. What is the purpose of being on social media? Is it to inspire? Engage? Build trust?

Doug’s why? He uses social media to show that he is first and foremost… human. He also uses the channels to engage with and show his 2.2 million associates that whilst he may not be physically able to engage with each of them face to face, that they do in fact matter.

You also need to know your audience – who are you communicating with? Understanding your audience will demystify the struggle of what content share and how to get people to engage.

You also need to be prepared for issues. Engaging poorly online is a risk, one all too many CEOs have faced publicly, yet failure to engage at all is also a risk to reputation. CEOs need to think of effective social media as insurance for their reputation.

Pesel & Carr has implemented award winning social media strategies, reach out to to discuss how we can help you.  

Video’s journey to content dominance

 The inexorable march of video to becoming the king of content has been marked by several seminal moments in history that have set it on its path to supremacy.

The birth of the internet has armed anyone with a computer with the tools to publish content and build an audience.

Now, with smartphones, social media platforms and affordable camera equipment readily available, those with a desire to build an engaged audience can add video to their repertoire too.

Businesses have reached the point where failure to include video in a marketing strategy is at best risky, at worst negligent.

But what events have shaped this obligation?

Whilst the invention of the television, smartphone and internet are obvious contenders, there are several other moments that deserve attention.

  1. 1941 – the first US TV ad

Sport has created the most intense battleground for video advertising, the showpiece sporting events in the US demand cutting-edge creativity to avoid social media invective and cut through expensively produced noise. Brands have to pay USD$5 million for a 30 second slot on CBS during the Super Bowl that could have profound impact on their image.

Major sporting events around the world are a magnet for creative video advertising, a phenomenon that dates back to 1941, when the first TV advertisement was broadcast in the US before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies on behalf of watch brand Bulova. TV advertising is now worth an estimated USD$70 million in the US.

  1. 1983- Sony’s first consumer camcorder

In 1983 Sony released its first consumer camcorder, JVC, Kodak and Panasonic soon following suit.  This empowered the general public to become content creators. The full impact of user-generated content wouldn’t be felt until 1991, when a civilian in Los Angeles recorded five police officers brutally beating Rodney King during an arrest. The video dominated news coverage, laying the seeds for historical riots and civil disobedience that ripped through the city a year later. Some argue it was the first ‘viral video’.

  1. 2005 – the birth of YouTube

14 years on from the Rodney King incident, and with the internet now shaping the modern world we recognise, came the creation of video-sharing website YouTube. Its sale to Google for USD $1.65 billion was a turning point for the marketing industry, confirming that brands simply had to include digital video ads in their annual marketing budgets.  The explosion of social media platforms that shaped this era was marked by a clear strategy by each of them to ensure their platform facilitated the easy creation of video. If Cisco is correct in its prediction that video will account for more than 82% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2022, it’s easy to see why the social media giants actively optimise their platforms for video.

Three reasons your business should use video marketing

For any modern businesses looking to effectively promote their message, video has become an undeniably important medium.

You could pick an infinite number of reasons that support its significance, but here are three key reasons:

  1. SEO

Google’s algorithms are designed to reward video. Videos increase the time spent by users on your website, building trust and signaling to search engines that your site contains good content.  A 2018 study revealed that you are 53 times more likely to land on the first page of Google if your site utilizes video.

  1. Trust

A study by Hubspot revealed that 50% of Internet users look for videos related to a service or product before visiting a store. Using video to inform people with useful, digestible information can build trust. In a post-truth era where trust is hard to earn, this can have long-term benefits in relationship building. Video also builds trust with Google, which as we’ve just explained is vitally important.

  1. Conversions

A study by Tublar Insights demonstrated that 64% of consumers will make a purchase after watching branded video on social platforms, whilst Forbes figures reveal 65% of executives have gone to a business’s site and 39% have called them after watching a video. Video can start conversations that directly impact your business’ bottom line.

Get filming!

The lost art of the conversation

You may have already heard two of my colleagues went to the International Association of Business Communicators conference earlier this year. While they were there, they heard from leaders in communication the world over on a variety of different topics.

They excitedly shared their learnings with the team and one in particular really resonated with me. Communication and human nature expert, award-winning journalist and author, Celeste Headlee, spoke about The Lost Art of Conversation.

People seem to have lost the knack of connecting. They’re always firing emails and texts, and don’t get me started on those picture thingys they send each other – keep them for the ‘gram people!

Anyway, it seems Celeste agreed. She talked about research in neurological and social science, that showed one in five people believe a failed conversation is not their fault. Now I’m no mathematical expert, but that doesn’t add up…

Good conversation is all about listening.

You know those tips you hear on how to be a good listener… like nodding your head or saying “uh-uh”? It turns out you humans do those things naturally when you actually listen! (Whereas us dogs like to tilt our heads.)

Forgetting about yourself and how you should be acting, and focusing on the other person, is the key. When I talk to my humans, all I can think about is their cuddles which always follows.

Celeste’s talk touched on the ways we can communicate better in workplaces, neighbourhoods, communities and at home. On of her key tips? Unsolicited advice is always seen as an attack.

Humans learn through engagement. Asking questions to encourage people to find the answer themselves is much more effective than lecturing.

The secret to continuing an effective conversation is to ask a simple question that elicits a complicated answer. Wrap your head around that one!

The next time you go to bark at someone, I hope you keep these lessons in mind.