broken plate with title ceo insights by elissa liu the top mistakes ceos make on social media

The Top Mistakes CEOs Make on Social Media

With more executives learning about the benefits of being online, we have seen an increased number of CEOs and other business leaders on social media. However, what happens when an executive’s online presence fails to make an impact? In many cases, they are making these three common social media mistakes.


1. Not having a clear goal for their social media presence

Establishing a strong online presence is crucial for any executive, but simply creating an account and posting without a clear purpose is not enough. A strong executive social media program must have a clear goal. 

For many CEOs, their online presence helps achieve specific business or growth goals, such as strengthening brand recognition, driving increased revenue, or generating leads. Without having a clear goal, posting content for the sake of it is not a strategic use of an executive’s online presence. 

Here are some specific business goals and how social media content can help support them:

  • If an executive wants to be known as a thought leader in their field, they will want to focus on posting valuable and educational content, along with original insights related to an identified set of topics and themes. This establishes the individual as a knowledgeable figure in their industry.
  • On social media, improving brand awareness is a common goal many companies have for their leadership team. Executives may want to strategically promote branded content in a way that does not come across as overly promotional.


2. Treating all social media platforms the same

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok—today’s executives are faced with a growing list of popular social media platforms to establish their presence on. Another common social media mistake is choosing too many platforms or selecting too few. 

I have seen CEOs select a large number of social media platforms to be on simply because they fear missing out on reaching a key segment of their audience. This leads to content that may not be a good fit for that particular platform.

On the other hand, there are also executives who only select one social media platform to establish their presence on. Oftentimes, they default to the platform they are most comfortable with, rather than another that may be better suited for their business goals.

Here are a few keys in selecting the right social media platform: 

  • The social media platform that is right for an executive will partly depend on their business goals. Certain platforms have an advantage, such as LinkedIn for driving revenue among a B2B audience.
  • It is crucial to understand every facet of a social media platform and its unique features. LinkedIn Articles allow for long-form content, visual content excels on Instagram, Twitter is great for engaging with current trends, and so on.
  • The next step is to understand the type of content an executive wants to produce. Will they be mainly sharing third-party articles and making their own original comments? Are they willing to create video content? A CEOs’ content output is important in selecting the right social media platform(s).

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3. Trying to take on too much, too soon

Just as with any other process, knowing when to delegate tasks can result in a more successful outcome. My team and I have worked with many executives and business founders and what is clear is that each of them is unique in terms of how involved they want to be with their social media program.

Executives with stronger “hands-off” tendencies are those who want the overall strategy for the program and content creation to be generally left to someone else. On the other hand, “DIY” executives are those that want to or believe they can handle it by themselves.

With this latter group, one of the most common social media mistakes they make is trying to take care of every aspect of their social media profile while creating an unrealistic content schedule. For some, creating content and posting every day may be possible but in most cases that I have seen, executives simply do not have time to create, review, and maintain a robust and strategic social profile all on their own, on a consistent basis.

Here are a few questions executives should ask themselves when determining what to delegate to their in-house team or a marketing agency:

  • Who has the capability and expertise to develop a full executive social media program? Keep in mind that a successful program is multi-faceted and includes understanding the individual’s tone, content they should post, social media best practices (e.g., hashtag and @mention usage, best time of day to post), and so on. Working with an individual or team that is well-versed in digital marketing is one way to mitigate making common social media mistakes.
  • Who will be developing the content and can they do so consistently? Whether the content is video, custom graphics, or original copy, the most successful social media accounts are the ones that post on a frequent and consistent basis. This provides users with an incentive to follow and engage with the content.