28 Feb Put Your Money Where Your Mouse Is: How to Get Discovered by Stakeholders on Social
If you’re wondering whether your target audience is on social media, the short answer is: yes. Whether you’re seeking new customers, looking to foster relationships with talent or fishing for investors, your target audience is using social media to make decisions, and a thoughtful executive social presence can do wonders when it comes to building credibility around your brand. In fact, a BRANDfog survey found that 73% of respondents indicated that being engaged on social media makes CEOs more effective leaders by building trust and confidence. Additionally, 93% of respondents said that socially engaged CEOs are able to build better connections with customers, talent, and investors. The bottom line is, whether you’re looking to build out a social program for your company leaders or you’re an executive looking to bolster your own presence on behalf of your brand, communicating regularly and effectively on social can drive strong ROI when it comes to reaching key prospects. Need more convincing? We’ve outlined the value of social media for connecting with each of the three aforementioned audience groups below.
At the core of what makes any business successful are its customers. Though the platforms may change, rest assured that your target audience can be reached on social media regardless of if your company is a B2B or B2C entity. In fact, a 2016 Nielsen report found that Generation X, a group of individuals likely to be more senior in the workforce and therefore among top decision makers, are even more active and engaged than millennials online—spending an average of almost seven hours per week on social media.
However, the fact that your prospective customers can be found on social is only half of the recipe for success. A 2018 Hootsuite report indicated that 75% of consumers believe a CEO’s active presence on social makes a brand more trustworthy, and a 2017 Sprout Social study reported that 59% of consumers surveyed believe that CEOs should join conversations around social and political issues on social media. The takeaway? It’s the company leaders, not a faceless brand, that consumers want to hear from. Establishing a credible and authentic brand reputation is paramount for generating and keeping loyal customers, and it begins with having a personal voice backing that brand.
A company is only as good as its employees, and as the job market gets more competitive, it’s important to actively (and intelligently) cultivate strong talent. These days, however, capturing the interest of an attractive candidate goes beyond brand awareness. Job seekers are also using social media to determine which leaders they are inspired by, whose vision resonates with them, and who they’d ultimately like to work for.
With 87 million active users, millennials make up 38% of LinkedIn’s entire user base. Likewise, 95% of millennials follow brands on social media when looking for insight into a prospective company. Because millennials now make up the largest generation in the workforce, it’s the group most likely to fill a wide range of your hiring needs, making social a critical tool for finding new talent. When it comes to more senior positions, however, we can’t forget that Gen X reportedly spends even more time on social media than millennials, and is an equally valuable group to connect with. Getting key leaders on social media with strong profiles and authentic ongoing content can help to engage and inspire these important groups when they consider working with your organization.
It’s easy to focus on generating a pipeline of prospective candidates when it comes to building a strong and talented staff, but it’s just as important to foster relationships with your existing employees as well. When CEOs are active and accessible online, it creates a sense of authenticity and helps staff to feel more connected to the brand as a whole. In fact, a 2016 Hootsuite study showed a 40% increase in employee engagement as a result of CEO social engagement. Through strong, ongoing communication that shares your brand’s values, vision, and direction, you can help existing employees feel more connected to leadership while building a company they’re proud to work for.
Lastly, an important but perhaps less intuitive group to get in front of on social media is investors. Potential investors are online too, and they’re paying attention. People tend to put their money behind companies—and perhaps even more importantly, leaders—with a mission they believe in. By establishing your CEO as a thought leader with dedication, vision, and influence, you position your company for success when it comes to attracting investors and acquirers. In fact, A Wharton School of Business study showed that having a social media presence that promotes a positive brand image and strategically draws in a larger following on social media is directly correlated with larger investor pools and the ability to obtain funding.
While your strategy, content and social platforms may change, the value of a thoughtful executive social presence for connecting with prospective consumers, employees and investors is indisputable. However, these insights are just the tip of the iceberg.