A short article published by Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)* discusses how a drastic number of CEOs maintain a distance from social media (Twitter, specifically) and why it’d be in their best interests to actually get involved. Reasons like “listening to their consumers” and “sharing current events about themselves or their companies” are listed in the article to illustrate why it’s beneficial to hop on board. While those are definitely two prime reasons to justify CEOs utilizing Twitter, there is even more to this list, and more to wonder why so many are comfortable being at a distance.
It’s foolish not to be more engaged, as this is not just a trend — this means of communication is here to stay, progress, and become more complex. Moreover, social media is the most intimate way to connect with your audience. So why brush it aside?Blog-Stat
According to the article, only 4% of CEOs are tweeting, and almost 70% do not exist on social media platforms. How can this be? The first basic answer would most likely be: “They’re CEOs — they’re busy.” Fair enough. However, the few seconds it takes to form an appropriate piece of content, type it, and hit the “Tweet” button could result in a connection and positive reputation, encompassing a value higher than the hourly rates their salaries break down to. (After all, it’s only 140 characters, or less; it’s not like they’d be required to write a novel to be studied and debated by college students and professors).
From a PR perspective, we view the possible positives and the potential negatives in a CEO wielding tweets on a regular basis. A few possible positives include building a respectable reputation and human representation of the company brand, or even responding appropriately and sincerely to a company crisis that is exposed and unraveling fast. On the other hand, a PR firm might sweat it at the thought of the potential negatives, such as a CEO responding to a crisis prematurely or in a sloppy, ineloquent manner.
However, when executed in a smooth, consistent, and compelling manner, a CEO’s tweets could serve a great purpose and develop inestimable value.
So what creates the value? The presence. The connection. The demonstration of themselves as industry and thought leaders. The demonstration of their positions as their companies’ captains. The timely response. The involvement. The learning of the consumers’ honest opinions and patterns. The position of authority. The position of “being looked up to.” The conversation. The positioning of being current. The commendable response to a relevant current event or company crisis (as a human invested in the company and mission; not just an intern told to copy-and-paste a crafted statement from the company Twitter handle). The attention it commands (if executed tactfully and skillfully). The positive energy of sharing a new product/service or company success.
(*inhale*) Need we say more?
CEOs: Do a little regular PR boost for yourselves… now tweet it.
* “Are you an antisocial CEO?” by Greg Beaubien on PRSA.org