CEO social buddies

January 05, 2012

CEO social buddies

Chris Perry (@cperry248) who is our digital communications president, wrote this really good post on Forbes about social CEOs. I am taking the liberty of repeating his 5 must-dos for CEOs wanting to get social or even considering it.
I would probably add one more and that is to find yourself a buddy who can read your Tweets as a sounding board when you first get started. I think that that second opinions can save oneself from having a red face and worth the try until you feel comfortable enough to try it alone.  And maybe it’s worth having a buddy just as good practice when it comes to Tweeting or even Facebook.  They might not be good golfing buddies but hey, this is a new age. Take his advice. It is seriously good.

Here they are…..straight from Chris.

Realize you shine bright in social mediums.

Social media participation is a public appearance where everything is on the record. Assume that comments will be picked up by the press as well as examined closely by your customers, staff and others watching your company. Speak and act accordingly.

Recognize your role as Chief Narrator.

Social platforms like Twitter aren’t a sounding board for a CEOs innermost thoughts; they’re an extension of other modes of communication you use as the lead executive of your organization. There’s great opportunity to share thoughts on your company or industry issues that get amplified through networks that reach employees, investors, customers and the press. As with existing communications efforts have a plan in place as you engage.

Anticipate social remarks being a part of a permanent public record.

Avoid posting or tweeting on topics that you would never discuss aloud in a public forum. Badmouthing competitors, going too deep into personal affairs or speaking about divisive issues is not the way to go. Don’t be gun-shy when engaging online, but anticipate that what you say will generate the same reaction as if it were published in the press.

Don’t court controversy if you can’t take the heat.

Opinions on relevant industry issues and current events that affect your business are fine. But steer clear of statements that might be controversial – unless you want to be at the center of the storm. Off the cuff remarks can have a massive ripple effect to be managed your staff, PR team and others tied to the issue after the fact. Pause for a moment in private before you go public.

Despite the inherent risks embrace your humanity.

Words of caution don’t mean you can’t let your personality shine through. In fact, this is one of the best ways CEOs can engage on a deeper, more human level with stakeholders. Personal insights into what it’s like to lead an organization show authenticity. Just remember that there are limits to what’s appropriate to share.


Any leader looking to engage through social media can harness the power, or suffer from the peril, of the medium. While it provides a forum for new interaction, new communications policies have similarities to traditional media guidelines.

Keeping that in mind will help you participate in ways that adds value, not headaches, to your organization.



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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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