01 Nov Executive Spotlight: John Legere
John Legere is not the type of executive that wears a suit and tie–at least, not unless it’s magenta in color. The CEO of T-Mobile, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the U.S., is anything but your typical executive. He has cultivated 6.49 million followers on Twitter, over 75,000 followers on Instagram, and over 390,000 followers on Facebook.
John Legere is Mr. Magenta
If you do not recognize the name John Legere, you may be more familiar with his nickname: Mr. Magenta. It is a catchy phrase that perfectly describes Legere. On social media, he is often wearing the color, whether it is a t-shirt, sneakers, or even magenta hair for #NationalHairDay. This color choice is no accident as it is the same iconic magenta of T-Mobile’s logo. It is a smart and subtle way of indirectly calling attention to the brand and further strengthens the connection between Legere and T-Mobile’s branding.
With his memorable nickname, eye-catching clothing, and engaging social media content, Legere blurs the lines between CEO, mascot, and content creator. Another way Legere is unlike other executives on social media is how relatable and approachable he is. His Twitter bio reads:
Magenta-wearing, customer-loving @TMobile USA CEO focused on ending wireless pain points & scaring our competitors! Also, #IamBatman
This is a shortened version of everything Legere presents on social media: he highlights his passion of working towards a more customer-friendly company, mentions his goal of making wireless services less stressful for consumers, and ends with some humor.
Browsing through his social media accounts, it is clear that this is someone who not only creates entertaining content but also deeply understands the benefits and features of each platform and what they have to offer to the audience. Legere is able to customize his content and provide differentiated value for each social media platform. In these next few sections, let us take a look at how John Legere uses each social media platform.
Facebook: Going Live
The first platform we will be looking at is Facebook. Legere differentiates his use of this platform by going live on certain Sundays for his #SlowCookerSunday series, in which he enthusiastically shares recipes with the audience. His #SlowCookerSunday videos consistently garner a high number of views with his last three installments achieving 3.4 million, 5 million, and 5 million views respectively.
These videos range from 10 to 15 minutes and showcase his energetic and friendly personality. Because the content is broadcast live, it also demonstrates how authentic Legere is. While he refers to his notes from time to time, he does not read off a script, which makes it more like a conversation between him and the audience. He also does not use a professional recording set-up, but rather has a person filming from a camera. The less polished, slightly lower-quality approach has the benefit of being more authentic.
Legere also effectively adds T-Mobile branding to his video, often starting off by mentioning any recent T-Mobile news, such as relevant awards the company has won recently or new product launches. Even if viewers are tuning in just for the recipes, they will still be learning about the company.
Legere has further personalized his Facebook profile by using a different banner than his Twitter profile. On Facebook, there is more emphasis on T-Mobile with the focus being on the happy audience rather than on Legere himself. It is an effective banner since it also ties in with the predominantly brand-related posts on this platform.
Instagram: A Magenta Landscape
On Instagram, Legere again shows off his mastery of the platform, making use of many of Instagram’s app-specific features. He uses the app’s Stories feature to create engaging clips. He has a series of videos that use the hashtag #CEOAnswers, in which he interacts with followers and answers their questions. Examples such as “what things can’t you live without” and “who is your Overwatch main” all contribute to creating a fun persona.
Legere also makes full use of Instagram’s Highlights feature to save his Stories into relevant collections. For some of his Stories (particularly the ones that are more promotional), he has subtitles at the bottom, which is very useful for those who are hard of hearing or who do not have their phone’s volume turned up. His social media content is not just engaging, but accessible.
Legere posts a variety of different types of content to his account, ranging from regular photos to carousels and videos. Because Legere is always wearing magenta, this inadvertently has an interesting outcome for his Instagram profile. It gives his Instagram profile a very nice visual theme since the majority of the posts feature this color. This brings the T-Mobile brand to the forefront of a viewer’s mind in a subtle way.
Unlike a platform like Twitter, posting too often on Instagram can be annoying for followers. Statistics show that most major brands average approximately 1.5 posts per day. However, based on best posting practices on Instagram, Legere is very consistent and active, ranging from posting every few days to posting every day.
One interesting thing to note is that sometimes his Instagram bio does not even mention T-Mobile (currently, he is letting users know about his MLB ticket giveaway). However, he does actively use #TMobile in his posts, even for content that is not related to the brand or company, in order to tie the brand back in to his persona.
Twitter: Poking Fun At The Competition
Of the three platforms, Legere is most active on Twitter, sometimes posting several times a day. One of the defining characteristics of his activity on this particular social account is that he often pokes fun at the competition, such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.
The Comcast guide to innovation:
✅Put some content on 📺
✅Put some content on Peacock
✅Charge customers twice for the same product👎🏻 pic.twitter.com/xRQgamemxR
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 24, 2019
He never takes these critiques too far, but often takes a humorous tone, especially when he uses GIFs and other memes. Legere often uses a list format, which not only boils down the important points into an easy-to-read format, but also implies that T-Mobile is the better choice without even mentioning his brand.
.@ATT Q3 earnings call in a tweet:
• Just +1K postpaid phone nets (based on end subs)
• Post phone Churn ⬆️ 6 Qs in a row YoY
• ⬇️ 217K total postpaid customers
• ⬇️ 1.4M video customers
And speaking of those 1.4M video customers…
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 28, 2019
Legere makes use of a wide variety of emojis that suit the topic he is discussing, giving his tweets a visual flair that catches people’s attention. However, it is important to note that he never overuses emojis to the point where it is tacky, and not all posts have emojis.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 27, 2019
On Twitter, Legere makes timely posts and uses popular hashtags, such as #RuffFriday, #ShoppingSaturday, and #SlowCookerSunday. He is showing that he is up to date with the latest trends, news, and social climate. This all translates back to the T-Mobile branding of being innovators and modern.
While most of his Twitter content is original, Legere does occasionally retweet funny articles to share with his followers, such as this one where he also tags T-Mobile:
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 27, 2019
Legere also retweets comments from happy customers, which is an excellent way of promoting the T-Mobile brand. Having real customers praise the company is always more effective than praise coming from the brand’s own CEO. While executives should not retweet absolutely every positive comment from their consumers, Legere has achieved an effective balance and does not retweet too many in a row or too often. Again, this speaks to how effective he is at spacing out content and making sure there is a variety.
Similar to Instagram, Legere effectively attaches T-Mobile branding by using relevant hashtags, which it is a good way of calling attention to the company. An example of this is #MagentaHeroes, which is used to praise T-Mobile employees. In his tweets, he tags relevant people or brands (even in posts where he is calling out the competition) and uses a suitable amount of hashtags where appropriate.
Influential Executive: The Magic of T-Mobile’s “Mr. Magenta”
Executives who use social media can have a major impact on their company’s brand and that is certainly the case with John Legere. He brings a human face to a brand within an industry that typically does not have happy customers. Telecom companies are often seen as having anti-consumer practices and any conversation around these brands are generally negative. However, Legere gives T-Mobile a face, humanizing the brand and giving it a friendlier image within the minds of consumers. By being authentic and likable, this translates to his brand, which is in an industry not known for being “cool” or friendly. However, he is always keeping T-Mobile in the spotlight, whether it is by retweeting a customer’s happy feedback or through more subtle means, like wearing T-Mobile’s magenta color.
There are different routes that executives can take with their social media content, depending on their and their brand’s goals. In Legere’s case, he is focused on humor and entertaining his followers to address his industry-specific challenges. The fact that he is not a “thought leader” is not a drawback or weakness. In fact, Legere has found his niche and embraced it.
By creating a recognizable persona for himself (“Mr. Magenta”), Legere is adding an element of fun and entertainment to T-Mobile. He is not a “corporate bigwig,” but an approachable, friendly CEO that engages in cool activities, has a lot of energy, and is up to date with current events.
One of the key successes for executives who maintain their own social media profiles is to be consistent, which Legere absolutely is. However, he takes this a step further and carefully curates content for each platform, making each social profile engaging and unique. Unlike CEOs that just post about their brand or one specific subject, Legere differentiates himself in a number of ways: a magenta-wearing, tech-savvy, sports-loving chef (just to name a few).
Most important, Legere’s content is original. He is not just retweeting other people’s content but creating unique content as well. When executives on social media share other posts or retweet, it is always best to add their own spin to the content they are sharing. Adding their own comments can make this type of content feel more personal.
Improvements: Just Minor Touch-Ups
With such a strong roster of social media profiles, there are not many major improvements to suggest. Still, there are always some minor improvements that can be made to anyone’s profile. On Instagram, Legere can make use of several periods to separate his post content and the hashtags he uses. Here is an example:
This is an easy way to make the post look cleaner as Instagram will automatically clip the message and hide the hashtags. However, when using branded hashtags, keeping them with the rest of the content can be a good idea to draw more attention to them.
The header image on his Twitter profile is low quality and blurry. The text on the shirt is cut off and the figure should be moved up in the graphic to display a more polished look.
Lastly, Legere’s profile picture on his Facebook account is blurry and should be updated to showcase a higher quality photo.
Conclusion: Content Is King
After analyzing Legere’s three social media profiles, it is clear he is using each of these platforms to their full potential, making use of app-specific features to create diverse content. For example, users can save their videos on Facebook Live whereas if users used Instagram Live, the content would be deleted after 24 hours. Facebook Live is more appropriate for Legere’s video content since he is sharing recipes with his audience. The videos are also a great way to indirectly market the brand, so being able to save these videos is a much better option. On Instagram, he makes use of Stories and Stories Highlights to create shorter videos, such as “Q & A” styled posts.
Another way Legere is an effective executive on social media is that he is using each of the three platforms for different content. He is using Twitter to call out the competition and share funny content with his followers. Instagram is home to personal content, such as “slice of life” posts about his daily routine, and this platform is more about Legere himself as most of the photos feature him. With Facebook, there is more video and live content, and posts have a stronger connection to the T-Mobile brand. The majority of his social media content is not copied directly from one platform to the other, which gives users a reason to follow all of his social profiles.
🏆CONGRATULATIONS🏆 @ATT, you're the 1st carrier to copy our Magenta First Responders plan! You did it much sooner than expected, well done! Here's some constructive criticism: 50% off is still better than 25%. Do better!
PS: Didn’t I call this on Monday⤵️https://t.co/2IZ69YLZbL
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 30, 2019
He is also sharing content outside the scope of the T-Mobile brand, which means the audience does not necessarily need to be a T-Mobile user to follow him. They can simply choose to follow his social profiles simply for the funny content. However, his content all indirectly relates back to T-Mobile and his role as its executive.
While he does not have an active account on LinkedIn, this is not a drawback as that platform does not suit the type of content he is known for. Instead of pulling the same content from his Twitter or Facebook to post on LinkedIn, this shows how Legere understands the platforms and their uses. Legere’s animated personality is not as well suited for LinkedIn, which emphasizes career-related topics. LinkedIn users are using the platform as a way to advance their career and make professional connections within their industry, which does not align with the content Legere produces.
Another strength is that although he portrays an energetic persona, Legere knows when it is time to be more serious, such as in one of his recent videos where he introduced a new service plan called “Magenta First Responder.” He still comes across as sincere, especially given his reputation for pushing for customer-friendly mobile services.
In one survey, 62% of respondents said they enjoyed learning about the people behind the brand but with only 20% of CEOs having their own social media account, there is room for improvement among today’s top executives. Content is king and “Mr. Magenta” is an exceptional example of an influential executive who is using each social platform to their fullest potential.
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