13 Sep Capitalizing on Social Media Platforms
On social media, founder and CEO of Rakuten Group INC, Hiroshi Mikitani, portrays himself as a relatable person. However, on top of just being relatable, he demonstrates authenticity. He mainly detaches himself from professionalism and his role as a CEO on his personal Instagram, but in a professional setting such as LinkedIn, he uses the platform to showcase company values and humanitarianism.
Mikitani’s use of social media platforms showcases the duality of casualness and professionalism, in order to present that outside of Rakuten, he is just like any other person. It makes him feel more human, rather than a cold and stoic executive.
Hiroshi Mikitani’s Instagram account boasts 44.7k followers, in part because of his role as Rakuten Group’s CEO, but also because Mikitani keeps content personal and authentic on his Instagram. His feed is a compilation of his day-to-day life: from golfing to walking his dogs, he shares his personal life to paint an image of authenticity.
Rather than a barrage of accomplishments, on-going company projects, and inspirational posts, Mikitani showcases that, at the end of the day, he is just a regular person with a very normal home life. The Rakuten CEO is aware that different social media platforms have separate purposes, and he uses Instagram to remain transparent, adding relatability and realism to his character.
Interestingly, Mikitani tends to leave only a few words or even no caption at all for his posts. This approach he uses on Instagram makes posts about his work life seem more casual than they really are, inspiring others to believe that reaching higher goals is attainable.
On Instagram, Hiroshi Mikitani does not want to just be seen as some big-shot CEO, but instead he utilizes his platform to showcase that he is a person that is easy to engage with and rely on.
180 on LinkedIn
Despite Hiroshi Mikitani’s Instagram being very personable, his LinkedIn is where he highlights professionalism and company values. His content is catered towards other leaders and entrepreneurs, and prioritizes his company’s on-going projects.
According to the 2019 “Connected Leadership” study by the Brunswick Group, 65% of employees say it’s important for CEOs to actively communicate about their companies online. LinkedIn is used primarily for professional networking, making it the most likely social media platform for executives to have a direct line of communication to their current and prospective employees. This makes it ideal for sharing and announcing company news to relevant stakeholders.
Mikitani also uses his professional account and influence to support humanitarian and social causes, as well as to promote his values to users that engage with the account. Mikitani also publishes his own articles or shares other media posts about the social issues he cares about. The issues he currently speaks on range from LGBT+, equality, and the pandemic.
LinkedIn favors text-based and long-form content, which makes it a great platform to explore important issues in-depth with the nuance and context they deserve. Mikitani’s activity on LinkedIn focuses on demonstrating his proactive approach to the company, contributing to a reputable image as a leader.
Potential Improvements: Engagement
Though Hiroshi Mikitani has made great strides towards leveraging his social media accounts, one area he could potentially improve upon is his engagement with his audience on both his Instagram and LinkedIn platforms. On Instagram, engaging within the comments with his audience, liking comments, or even posting and replying to Instagram stories may allow him to be more personable. On his LinkedIn too, engagement with the audience may help further promote the values and ideals he holds along with the company. His lack of interaction with users on social media may make him appear to be less personable and caring as a person and as a CEO.
All in all, Hiroshi Mikitani displays a balance between casualness and professionalism through his social media accounts. He is aware of the purposes of each platform and uses it as leverage to either promote his interests or his values. It is refreshing to see an executive that does not constantly post about work or inspirational content, as it can appear ingenuine. Instead, Mikitani demonstrates transparency through social media to his audience.
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