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C-level executives are often apprehensive about diving in to the social media space. For some, it’s a question of the time commitment involved, while others might be unsure of how to balance personal with professional – and of course there is always reluctance when it comes to the elusive ROI question. But Twitter and other social media platforms are ideal for communicating directly with partners, employees and customers in an informal and conversational way, especially when it comes to connecting with individuals located miles or countries away. By sharing personal anecdotes and industry expertise, as well as engaging with followers directly by responding to questions and commentary, executives have the opportunity to improve their perception as an industry expert and ultimately improve perception of their brand.
Here are five handy tips for launching or maintaining a C-level Twitter handle:
1. Allow Personality to Shine
- Twitter can be an avenue to show a more personal side of an executive. Whether humorous, friendly or snarky, staying true to an executive’s real style of speech and communication provides a snapshot of who they are outside of the board room.
- Besides showing personality in individual Twitter posts, utilize the Twitter bio to provide a glimpse into an executive’s personality as well.
- Avoid posting solely about company news. Add some color on personal/professional travel, experiences from conferences, or even share some thoughts on hobbies that keep you occupied while out of the office.
2. Content is Key
- A content calendar is a useful tool for organizing future Twitter posts and to get a glimpse at what content may already exist, or to schedule certain content to post at a specific time to coincide with key company or industry events.
- If you do follow a content calendar for Twitter, remember to be flexible. If a question comes through that spurs a discussion over the course of a few days, it’s usually better to hold off on pushing out other content that doesn’t relate to the topic at hand (unless of course there is a time sensitivity).
- Content on Twitter must focus on topics your followers will care about, rather than random ponderings on a non-related topic. Posts shouldn’t only be company-focused, but content needs to be relevant on an industry-level.
3. Communicate Eloquently
- Twitter is another vehicle to establish or amplify thought leadership positioning for a C-level executive. Use it wisely, and strike a balance on the frequency of the content.
- Make sure to use proper grammar, and establish a tone of voice that is maintained across all communications.
- Don’t use Twitter as a sounding board for personal or professional gripes. Use discretion and always maintain a professional tone. That in no way should deter fun posts, but always keep in mind that Twitter is public and that even after a post is deleted, it can still easily be found online.
4. Interact and Engage
- On Twitter, direct engagement with followers is often more valuable than a push-model of content – remember to @reply and RT when you see something interesting or get a question or comment.
- If you happen to receive complaints or negative messages from users, try to take the conversation offline by providing an email address to a customer service representative or Direct Message the individual to connect in a more personal way (Direct Messages are private messages that cannot be seen by the public that are only allowed between users that are following each other).
5. Measuring Success
- The quantity and quality of engagement, and number of followers are useful indicators of a successful Twitter strategy.
- Follower to following ratio is important. Follow with discretion and make sure you’re connecting with relevant individuals, companies and media.
- Track followers on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis to monitor for specific posts or discussion topics that encouraged a large increase in following or engagement.
Twitter can help C-level executives motivate and inspire employees through direct communication and be a platform to share the company’s achievements. It also functions as a recruitment tool to showcase the company culture and give an inside view into the way the people at the executive level work and think. It’s a place to leverage relationships with key partners, suppliers and media by spurring industry-related discussions, not to mention a way to enhance customer experience and provide an open forum for discussion.
Keep the above tips in mind when handling your, or your client’s, C-level Twitter handle, and the engagement and conversations with your audience can ultimately improve brand perception or drive leads for your company. Get them to hang on all 140 characters!