11 Jul How Executives can Contribute to Their Company’s Social Proof
It has become essential for executives to be on social media, both from a marketing and public relations standpoint. When a business leader has a strategic and effective online presence, the executive and their company both benefit. For example, an executive can build their personal brand, interact with customers and connections, and establish themselves and their company as trustworthy.
One way that users on social media gain trust for a company is through social proof. In this article, we will look at the concept of social proof and how executives can utilize this to create a successful social media presence that benefits their company.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is a term to describe how people react based on the actions of those around them. From a marketing perspective, social proof is a way for businesses to gain credibility by showing how others respond positively to their brand. A common example on social media is seeing an influencer endorse or review a product.
People look for social proof on social media in a number of ways, including how many followers a user has and if others engage with their content. There are many ways to use social proof in digital marketing — having your brand’s executives on social media is a strategy that has become increasingly popular.
Executives on Social Media
Executives who want to support their company on social media must first have an active account. An executive’s social media presence helps legitimize a company and enhances its trustworthiness. Social media has become an important part of how we communicate and for many people, these platforms serve as a first impression to assess a person’s character. Those who are applying for a job, looking to invest in a company, or making a purchase might search for an executive’s social media profile.
There have been many studies showing how an increasing number of consumers want to purchase from or work at businesses with similar values as their own. While a company’s page can touch on topics such as diversity, it feels more authentic and trustworthy when coming from the company’s executives.
By not having a social media presence or having an inactive account, executives and their companies are missing a valuable opportunity to build social proof. Let’s look at one common drawback when a company’s executives are not on social media.
The Problem of Mistaken Identity on Social Media
On every social media site, it is common to come across social media users with the same name, spam accounts, or inactive accounts. Each of these can cause some issues for executives.
First, the presence of other users on social media with the same name as an executive is harmless enough, but this makes it harder for those who do want to find a company’s executive. On many social media sites, public figures are able to verify their account. For example, Twitter users who are verified have a “checkmark” icon next to their username. This shows other users that the person is who they say they are.
Second, if someone comes across a spam account first, it may cause confusion or even a negative first impression. This is often the case if someone has created a social media account that focuses on criticizing an executive and/or their company. While parody accounts where someone is “acting” like the executive may seem harmless (such as the example below), businesses should ensure that their executives have a verifiable digital presence to ensure the right message is reaching their audience.
Although Google is useful, even this platform may mistakenly use a fake account as part of its results. Google has knowledge panels that auto-generate information on people, places, and organizations. These panels can include social media account links as well and because the algorithm isn’t perfect, it may select the wrong accounts for an executive. An example is shown below.
A Google search of News Corp CEO Robert Thomson brings up this knowledge panel with a Twitter link that leads to someone else’s account. This can be an issue for the credibility of a CEO. In this case, it’s not obvious that this is the incorrect account for Thomson and one might begin reading his Tweets assuming they are from the CEO. To avoid this, executives should claim an account on social media platforms with their name and biography and have their social media managers ensure that Google knowledge panels are correct.
While establishing an online presence on social media is one aspect of working toward supporting business objectives, where does the “social proof” come in?
How to Use Executive Social Media as Social Proof
1. Testimonials and Reviews
An effective way to establish social proof on an executive’s social media account is by reposting reviews from customers, celebrities, influencers, and experts. Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp, is an example of this. He often retweets what customers, influencers, and executives are saying about his company and products.
A company that understands how I want to use their product better than I do. If you rely too much on user suggested features, you end up with a mess. I like buying products from a company with a strong opinion! #HeyFan https://t.co/LklfJVQMaB
— Steve Fenton (@_stevefenton) June 8, 2022
User-generated content like testimonials is not only easy to share (after all, the content is created by other people), but it’s also an example of authentic content rather than marketing jargon. By sharing a review, it shows that other customers are using a product and find value in it.
So, how can executives leverage positive testimonials on social media? By doing a simple search of their company’s name on a site like Twitter, executives could find relevant positive Tweets to repost. Here is an example of a simple Tweet that would be a good choice for the company’s executives to repost.
2. Getting Verified on Social Media
As we mentioned earlier, executives can become verified on their social media accounts to prove their identity. This is also a form of social proof. Having a verified icon on a profile tells the audience that the person they’re engaging with is who they say they are.
3. Social Media Metrics Matter
Social proof can also be influenced by social media metrics, such as the number of followers an executive has, how much engagement they get on their post, and so on. For instance, a large following suggests that many people are interested in what an executive has to say.
Sharing other metrics and accomplishments on social media can also contribute to a company’s social proof. For example, an executive might share a LinkedIn post about a significant company milestone or a recent award the company has won. Content about company growth helps other social media users understand how successful the company is and helps build brand awareness.
Leveraging Executives as Social Proof
With more businesses looking to establish their executives on social media, it’s important to understand the different ways in which they can contribute to a company’s success. Leveraging executives as social proof is one way to do that. Executives often act as the public face of their company and social media users tend to have an easier time connecting with an identifiable person rather than a faceless brand account.
If you are an executive looking to create an effective social media presence, our marketing experts can help. From strategy to implementation, let us build your personal brand to help you and your company succeed in the public eye. Click below to schedule your consultation.
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