CEOs who are social will be the next new thing

Acme Advertising Social Media Ken Henley

Within just the next three to five years, social media is anticipated to rise from the least likely method for CEOs to connect with their audiences to the second highest method, just behind face-to-face interactions.

I was recently speaking to a sold out event for the Nashville AMA on the dramatic changes brought upon business development due to social media. Being in Nashville gave me an opportunity to spend some time with my good friend Ken Henley who is the Nashville artist that created my caricature. Ken and I continued the conversation on the impact social media has made upon the advertising industry and business. The next day, Ken emailed me the cartoon above and thought I would share it with you. The importance of social media on business has dramatically escalated.

We have moved through the “hype phase” of social media when businesses felt compelled to participate because it was such a fad. We have entered a productive phase where companies are starting to crack social’s code to turn it into a genuine marketing advantage. 

It is no surprise to me that traditional corporate communication is beginning to give way to social communication. CEOs communicating through social media help their company appear more human and accessible. 

“Just as having a company website has become standard operating procedure over the past two decades, utilizing social media channels has now become an increasingly essential platform for companies to communicate their messages to the general public and other audiences.”Andy Polansky, CEO of global public relations firm Weber Shandwick.

A recent IBM study of more than 1,700 Chief Executive Officers from 64 countries and 18 industries worldwide reveals that 70% of the responding CEOs will shift their focus from using e-mail and the phone as primary communication vehicles to using social networks as a new path for direct engagement.

“Companies that are truly social and engage their employees and customers in genuine conversation will be recognized as the new corporate leaders. CEOs who are social will be the next new thing.” Leslie Gaines-Ross, Chief Reputation Strategist, Weber Shandwick

This is a major change from the traditional, controlled, protective corporate environments of the past to a more open and transparent leadership structure. As social media continues to evolve towards direct engagement, as spokesperson-in-chief, the CEOs skills and experience in social media becomes even more important.  Customers expect to have direct connections to brands and brand leaders.

The time has arrived for social media to become an expectation for company leaders.

CEOs that are social are perceived as better leaders and better communicators by their employees. The more socially tenured, the more people-focused and spontaneous he or she is considered by executives.

“Successful leaders will no longer be measured just by stock price. Managing and communicating with shareholders, employees, government, community, customers, will be table stakes in the future.”

CEO sociability provides a multiplicity of benefits, such as:

  • “Humanize” the company
  • Improve company reputation, employee and customer communications
  • Help find and attract new customers
  • Build media relations
  • Improve business results
  • Show innovation
  • Enhance credibility
  • More effective crisis management
  • Unfiltered direct communication with consumers
  • Valuable asset for sharing corporate social responsibilities and causes
  • Attracting and retaining top talent

Here’s a copy my SlideShare presentation with the highlights from the my article, “2014 The Year of the Social CEO”, written for Dialogue, a global magazine for business leaders. It is a publication of Duke Corporate Education and LID Publishing, London and has a distribution of 500,000 readers.

Social media is a primary force that is redefining the role of the men and women who oversee the world’s largest companies. How will CEOs respond organizationally and personally?

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

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