While tweets may be a mere 140 characters long, the majority of corporate leaders say they’re far too busy running their organizations to spend their time posting to Twitter. What’s more, many see it as a fruitless exercise that doesn’t increase revenue, they don’t like the idea of ceding control, and they’re leery of sharing too much – or not enough. The result is that fewer than 6% of Fortune 500® CEOs use Twitter and of those, only 60% tweet on a regular basis.
But the benefits of CEOs tweeting are abundant, with studies showing that over 80% of people believe that CEOs on Twitter are better corporate leaders. Those people also:
- Develop an enduring trust that translates into less negativity during times of crisis.
- Are more likely to make purchases from a company with socially active executives.
- Value the opportunity to contribute real-time feedback.
Change never comes easily, but there are ways to convince a reluctant CEO to take the Twitter leap. Remind your CEO that one of the draws of Twitter is the ability to communicate directly to customers and partners instantaneously. No need to rely on media placements to get your message across or be beholden to others’ publishing schedules. Suggest they start out by tweeting links to company news or re-tweeting others with similar views or interests, and then try these tips to get the Twitter ball really rolling.
- Develop a content strategy that focuses on a CEO’s strongest areas of expertise and interest. Be it marketing, productivity, or technology, choose topics that establish both the CEO and the brand as industry leaders.
- Encourage authenticity from a CEO, even if someone else writes the actual tweets. Look to the Fortune 500 CEOs who currently tweet for guidance on how to let one’s true personality shine through. If your CEO loves sports and travel or supports causes such as sustainability, be sure she or he shares that enthusiasm in a way that inspires followers.
- Engagement with followers on a regular basis is key to gaining the most benefit out of a Twitter presence. Coming up with consistent and fresh content is a challenge, so it can be helpful to use a content calendar, if only as the foundation to ensure a steady stream of tweets.
- Finally, CEOs who steadily work their way into the public arena more easily establish themselves as thought leaders. It helps to wholeheartedly embrace the Twitter philosophy of conversation and idea sharing, and it’s relatively easy to do: ask questions, join industry discussions and respond to @ mentions you receive.
Getting your CEO started on Twitter can be daunting, for both you and your CEO, but it can also be fun. Most CEOs who get on board eventually come to find they enjoy it. Best of all? It propels followers from brand awareness to brand loyalty, one tweet at a time.