article banner image with photo of a dartboard and article title Are Your Executive Social Media Goals Too Unrealistic?

Are Your Executive Social Media Goals Too Unrealistic?

Every social media marketer wants to see their company or executive get a million followers online. Yet, how realistic is this goal? And do follower numbers even matter?

Balancing quality and quantity can be tricky so we share our expert advice on how to set realistic goals for your executive social media program, focusing on followers, engagement, and social media activity.

For the purposes of this article, we focus our attention on executives brand new to social media or ones with a less developed online presence.


Setting Realistic Goals for Social Media Follower Growth

While having hundreds of thousands of followers can look and feel great for anyone on social media, the reality is that the majority of executives online won’t have that many unless they’re well-known figures who have reached “celebrity” status. Examples include Bill Gates on LinkedIn with over 34 million followers and Sir Richard Branson on Instagram with over 4 million followers. Even finding executives with tens of thousands of followers can be rare. These days, most executives on social media have followers that number in hundreds or thousands.

Are social media followers important? Yes.

Is the number of social media followers important? Yes and no. 

For social media marketers, focus on quality, not quantity. Having 500 people following your executive who are all potential customers or business partners is better than being followed by 10,000 people who may never be customers because they’re not the target demographic. Across social media, bots are also an issue. They inflate follower numbers but they’re not going to convert into paying customers!

Is there a “right” number of followers to try to aim for on social media? It depends on your executive’s current social media presence. 

If they’re brand new to social media, they’re starting at zero followers. Follower growth tends to be more challenging when an executive’s social media account is brand new, but there are ways to get started quickly. For example, ask your employees to follow your executive on LinkedIn, and connect your executive’s account with existing business clients and partners (if you’re looking for more tips, read our article, 5 Ways to Get Your CEO Noticed on Social Media).

Follower growth also depends on how much effort a marketer or the executive is putting into reaching out to others on social media. However, if you’re short on time, read about “network expansion” in this article detailing the different types of social media services an agency can support you with.

Here are our tips on executive social media follower growth: 

  • Focus on connecting with the right audience, rather than as many people as you can. This may take longer to research, but it’s well worth it to spend extra time to connect with more meaningful and valuable followers.
  • Engaging in network expansion activities can help accelerate your executive’s follower growth and is a crucial social media activity. Otherwise, you’re just relying on other social media users coming across your executive’s content and profile.
  • Remember that numbers aren’t everything. More followers doesn’t necessarily mean more business or more social media engagement. However, more followers means more people may be seeing your content.


Setting Realistic Goals for Social Media Engagement

Vanity metrics are social media numbers that can’t really tell you much about your return on investment. They’re often mistaken as being the most relevant metrics but in reality, a “like” doesn’t automatically mean that the individual will buy your product. Follower numbers are also considered a vanity metric.

What sort of metrics are important? Here are two to keep in mind:

Link clicks will tell you how engaged and interested other users are in your executive’s social media content. If a post has a low number of link clicks, this could signify a number of things, such as the post copy wasn’t compelling enough to encourage social media users to click on the link.

The engagement rate will tell you the level of engagement that your executive’s post had, which can help inform future content creation in order to better appeal to the audience.

At the end of the day, getting 50 reactions and 10 comments on a single post may sound enticing, but remember that not every post will garner a lot of engagement. On social media, users tend to engage with posts they find relatable, so while having your executive post about your company’s latest product may be critical to the overall digital marketing strategy, marketers shouldn’t expect the post to go viral (keeping in mind that we’re generally speaking about the average executive on social media, not the ones with millions of followers). Posts that tend to get a lot of engagement include more personal content (e.g. sharing a photo of a book an executive is reading) or team photos from a recent company volunteer event.

Here are our tips on executive social media engagement: 

  • Be authentic. It may sound tempting to jump on a new viral social media trend, but if it’s not something your executive would engage in themselves, then it may come across as too inauthentic.
  • The number of social media followers your executive has doesn’t necessarily translate into engagement. Just because they have 2,500 followers, this doesn’t mean they’ll get 2,500 “likes” on each post they share. A larger following simply means more people may see their posts. In fact, based on our findings, it’s more likely that an increase in followers may lead to increased impressions but a lower engagement rate overall.
  • “Likes” are just a visible way to measure interest in your executive’s social media content. Ultimately, they don’t translate to revenue. Focus more on social media strategy, versus trying to get more likes.


Setting Realistic Goals for Social Media Activity

Some executives online, especially the ones with much larger audiences in the millions of followers, tend to post on social media quite often. In fact, they might even post multiple times a day!

Is this realistic for most executives who want to build a strategic social media presence? No.

In fact, not having time to dedicate to social media is often the reason we don’t see more executives online even though there are a lot of business-related advantages to doing so (read more in our article, Launch an Effective Social Media Presence for Busy Executives).

Here are our tips on executive social media activity: 

  • Start small, then grow out. If this will be the first time your executive is online, start on one or two platforms, and post one to two times a week.
  • Posting less often per week but consistently is better than posting often for a few weeks but then not posting for several weeks. In our findings, consistency is always more effective than short bursts of high activity.
  • If your internal marketing department is busy with core business activities, consider partnering with a third-party digital marketing agency that can support with strategy development, content creation, and management!


Social Media Goals Differ Between a Company and Executive Social Media Page

Our tips above are just a general guideline, but because every marketer and executive has unique goals for their executive social media presence, not everything here will apply to their situation. That’s why it’s important to discuss a clear strategy with executive social media experts.