It can be lonely at the top for many CEOs but many are reaching out to Twitter to help reach out and make their business more human. The micro-blogging social network is now attracting droves of CEOs to its user base and for very pragmatic reasons that extend well beyond the traditional social media marketing focus. Even the Chamber CEO, Ian McLean, has been on Twitter for a little over 4 months now and is very active accumulating nearly 500 engaging followers (currently up to 1400 followers as of July 2013) and has taken to the new media quite well.
Fact Finding Exercise – Listening
The first thing Twitter users should do is listen. There is an old adage that I have heard several times over the past month that applies greatly to this: “You have 2 ears and one mouth, which means you should listen twice as much as you talk.” Following those people or organizations that interest you and learning etiquette and procedures for using Twitter along the way.
Most of all, Twitter acts as an amazing tool to learn what others are saying about issues you care about in real time and with no editor. No longer do you have to hear trimmed down sound bites from people on the street or segmented quotes from newsprint. Grant it the messages are 140 characters or less, but there’s a lot of information that can be taken in that become invaluable to a CEO who traditionally is informed by others what the masses are saying.
Displaying the Ability to Adapt to New Technology
As the social network continues to boom people are starting to notice when someone they know isn’t on Twitter. Clients, colleagues and potential customers are paying attention to those making the effort to learn the new technology. Many clients are less willing to deal with those people they can’t find online whether it be through LinkedIn or Twitter. A CEO being absent is no different.
Breaking down barriers between people is what social networks are about and as well-known personalities make their way onto Twitter CEO’s are not quite expected to be on there, but it is appreciated and noted. Staying ahead of the curve is becoming ever so important when top level communications are of concern. Everyone should know the basics of social media if it is becoming a major part of your organizations communications plan.
Reaching Out to Your Client Base
Nothing means more to a client or customer than to know that the barriers that normally exist between the top of a company or organization are at a minimum. Twitter creates a truly amazing two-way street of communication never before available. The fact that you can instantly receive feedback from those following you is extremely valuable. Don’t be afraid to reach out and/or talk to your followers or those following.
Final Tip for CEOs
Do not try to discuss public or company policy with a follower 140 characters at a time. If you receive a message from someone looking to pick a fight stick to one reply tweet and at most politely ask that you are open to an email exchange. Do not get dragged into a long winded multi-tweet discussion with someone you do not know and who can manipulate your words after the fact. Also, have fun and don’t be scared! Twitter is an entertaining, informative, and more often than not, friendly place to share your thoughts.