02 Jul Branding Your Executive Social Media Presence for Success
Yes, executives drive more engagement on average than their respective companies on social media, and yes, your company should absolutely be leveraging its leaders (maybe that leader is you!) to support marketing objectives. If you’re ready to take the plunge and launch an executive social media presence for yourself or the executives at your company, congratulations on the sound decision, and check out our introductory guidebook if you haven’t already! Now, though, it’s time to start thinking about why leaders outperform brands and how to create effective social media branding that will ultimately resonate with your target audience and drive measurable results.
Research suggests that 84 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. This may not seem groundbreaking in and of itself, but it’s particularly telling when combined with the fact that only 15 percent of those same respondents said they believe what a company tells them. So what does this tell us about executive social media? It’s easier to feel a personal connection to an individual than an intangible brand, and social media users are looking for an authentic, human experience when visiting or following an executive’s profile.
While it’s important to keep this element of personal connection in mind, ultimately as the CEO or a top executive of any given company, leaders act as extensions of their brands and an intentional social presence should support business objectives. Because of this dichotomy, the best social media positioning for an executive, both in terms of visuals and messaging, is one that combines both personal and corporate branding components. To help you make sense of this, we’ve outlined some guidelines below to help you get started.
Cohesive, standout visual elements help to create a polished look on any social profile. Thoughtfully planning and executing them in a way that quickly communicates the brand persona you or your executives want to portray is one of the first steps to consider when building a social presence. Fusing personal and company positioning through visuals is easier than you might think. This may be done through incorporating subtle branding elements such as utilizing key corporate colors in any post or page graphics and uploading a cover photo that includes your company logo or tagline which help clearly tie you or your executive to your corporate brand without feeling overly promotional or overt.
Once the connection to your company is made clear, the rest of your executive visual branding strategy should be focused on establishing yourself or your leader as an authentic, personable, and approachable face of the brand. The more that users see an executive portrayed as an individual rather than a faceless purveyor of their company’s goods or services, the more likely they are to trust that leader and feel a personal connection to the messages being shared.
We recommend leveraging photography or video footage from events you or your executives attended, interviews, or speaking engagements. You can also create video content that speaks directly to your audience in an FAQ or interview fashion, by filming either yourself or your executive answering questions or responding to concerns that have been posed and creating the opportunity for users to further engage by commenting additional topics they’d like to see covered in the future. If you’re wondering how to further tailor this approach to either a B2B or B2C executive, check out our recent blog post.
When it comes to the messaging in an executive’s content output on social, balance is perhaps even more vital than it is with the visual strategy. First and foremost, get specific. Anything an executive talks about on social media should be laser-focused on topics or subject areas that their company’s target demographic is most interested in. Stick to what you know, and avoid trying to be an expert in too many things at once. Incorporate references to your company, whether a company update or a reference to the company mission, products and service offerings, only when it is most natural and feels authentic rather than forcefully promotional.
Not only do you or your executive want to avoid inundating your audience with a stream of promotional content and sales pitches, but you also want to ensure that any messaging on social is as genuine as possible. People can easily see through a disingenuous statement or act, and fostering a reputation for being inauthentic is exactly the opposite of how you instill trust and create more personal connections with your audience. One way to demonstrate this authenticity is for executives to share their unique perspectives or opinions on newsworthy or industry-specific topics or to create owned thought leadership content that goes a bit deeper than surface level. Lastly, remember to be consistent. Consistency is another important factor that contributes to whether or not an individual seems trustworthy—it’s harder to feel that you know or understand a person when they are wishy-washy with their positioning or actions.
Ultimately, curating effective branding and positioning for your executive social presence is about striking a balance and fostering an authentic relationship with your audience. Everything from the graphics on your page to the messages you post should be thoughtful and intentional, ultimately supporting the goal of establishing you or your executive as the dependable human face behind your brand. If you’re interested in learning more about how to get started, don’t hesitate to set up a complimentary consultation with one of our experts today.