Executive Guide to Being Social
Last weekend I downloaded a copy of LinkedIn’s Executive Playbook: 12 Steps to Become a Social Leader (you have to register to get the pdf). Because of my interest in CEO reputation and ongoing research on Social CEOs and senior leaders, I thought I’d read it and pick up a few pointers on making the most out of LinkedIn. I had already spent some time a few months ago livening up my profile and filling in missing parts. I already knew that I was missing out on joining the long-form revolution on LinkedIn and thought this might push me in the right direction. Unfortunately, when I do have time, I tend to devote it to my blog which I’ve come to learn is a huge de-stresser for me. It is amazing how good I feel after I write something. Today I’m going to post on both my blog and LinkedIn and double my pleasure.
I started flipping through the Executive Playbook to read their 12 steps of advice and wow, what a surprise. Our research at Weber Shandwick on Social CEOs is cited as evidence for CEOs to go social. As LinkedIn says, “Today’s top performing leaders are social leaders.” I am not sure that all top performing leaders are social but increasingly more are trying their hand. They have good reason to do so — our research found that 76% of global executives think their CEOs should be social. Executives want their CEOs to give them companies a human face, connect with employees online and show that their companies are technology-fluent. When we did our study one year ago, senior executives from around the globe anticipated big leaps in CEO sociability, projecting a 50% growth rate over the course of the next five years. I will be curious to see how social CEOs actually are in our third audit on the topic and if the increase they expect actually comes true.
I think that nearly all CEOs will use one form of social media in years to come. I recall when companies first started acquiring dot com websites for their companies and the Fortune 500 issue of Fortune magazine began printing the urls in their index. A full adoption rate eventually came to pass but I also remember that there were two Fortune 500 companies that held out for the longest time. I recall one of them was Interstate Bakeries, the manufacturer of Wonder Bread and Twinkies, and used to wonder about why they did not own one. If 498 of your peers have company websites, wouldn’t that nudge you enough to have one? Apparently not. As it turns out, they filed for bankruptcy in 2004. In no way am I saying that being a laggard in buying a corporate website leads to filing for Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court but why not keep up with the Jones. Interstate Bakeries came out of bankruptcy in 2009 and has had multiple owners since then. Wonder Bread and Twinkies are back on our shelves. If I am still blogging 10 years from now, I have no doubt that the largest company CEOs — both top performing ones and not-so top performing ones — will be showing up online. Peer pressure alone should do the trick.
Unfortunately I do not recall the second company that did not own a url at the time.
Do yourself a favor and download the LinkedIn pdf or second best, try our research to learn why it pays to be a social executive. Don’t be UNsocial for too long.