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What Executive Persona Are You? (Part 2)

Executive personas play a large role in how their social media content is perceived. Several different factors contribute to the overall “persona,” ranging from the executive’s own personality, the content they want to share, and the business objectives they want to achieve with their social media presence.

In our mini-series, we cover some of the most common executive personas you may come across on social media. If you’re just joining us, check out part 1 in our series where we share our insights on executives with the passionate/enthusiastic, authoritative/informative, and edgy/provocative personas.

Keep reading below to learn about the curious/inspiring, friendly/casual, and serious/trustworthy personas!


Curious and Inspiring

The first persona we’ll discuss is the executive who is curious and inspiring. Executives in industries that experience a lot of innovation and change often portray this tone, which overlaps with the daring/grandiose tone that will be in the next part of our series. Think technology and other spaces where innovative disruption takes place. Executives who are curious and inspiring enjoy learning and asking questions. They want to start meaningful discussions with their social media audience and get them excited about topics that interest them. However, use caution! There’s a fine line between establishing yourself as an executive who enjoys constantly learning and an executive who has no clue what they’re talking about.

The curious and inspiring executive is someone who…

  • Enjoys asking questions and discussing big concepts
  • Shares interesting concepts with their followers
  • Likes to think about possibilities, not obstacles

An example of an executive with a curious and inspiring persona is…

Bill Gates! In this LinkedIn post, he shares why he enjoys writing in a notebook during meetings, while also linking to a third-party article that explains the science behind processing written information. In this other LinkedIn post, he shares a video exploring how innovation can help solve the climate crisis.

screenshot of bill gates' linkedin poll post

Friendly and Casual

The next executive persona is the friendly and casual individual who understands that social media means being social. They see social media as a valuable channel for building relationships, whether that’s with their followers or stakeholders. Because of their friendly demeanor, they’re often viewed by the public as being approachable. This persona tends to overlap with the passionate/enthusiastic, approachable/caring, and humorous/cheerful personas. Executives with a friendly and casual persona enjoy spreading positivity, whether it’s sharing inspirational leadership tips or their company’s latest DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiative.

The friendly and casual executive is someone who…

  • Comes across as authentic, helping to humanize the company brand
  • Isn’t afraid to use a few emojis in their posts
  • Believes social media can be a force for good, especially when it comes to spreading positivity

An example of an executive with a friendly and casual persona is…

Thasunda Brown Duckett, the president and CEO of Fortune 500 company TIAA. While we have her as an example under this persona, she can actually fit under the next persona, “serious and trustworthy,” as well. Surprised? Don’t be!

Thasunda is an excellent example of an executive who understands the type of content and tone that suits each social media platform. She leverages both LinkedIn and Instagram effectively in order to engage audiences across both platforms, sharing content and speaking in a tone that’s more aligned with either the professional, business-centric LinkedIn or the more casual, laidback Instagram. Here’s an example of a LinkedIn post versus one on her Instagram page. Her approach on Instagram fits the “friendly and casual” persona.

screenshot of TIAA ceo Thasunda Brown Duckett's instagram post


Serious and Trustworthy

The last executive persona we’ll cover in part 2 of our series is the serious and trustworthy executive. No doubt you’ve seen content from these executives on LinkedIn. This is a tone often taken by thought leaders and sometimes overlaps with the authoritative/informative executive persona. Executives who discuss important topics or social issues often use this tone. While the “trustworthy” part can be beneficial in establishing an executive’s credibility, being overly serious without also being passionate can make for dull content. It’s perfectly fine to adopt a more professional, business-oriented tone, but avoid being too bland as this may result in lower engagement on social media.

The serious and trustworthy executive is someone who…

  • Tends to be formal when sharing content on social media
  • Is more focused on discussing the topic and is less concerned with sharing personal content
  • Wants to be positioned as a thought leader and be seen as an expert

An example of an executive with a serious and trustworthy persona is…

Doug McMillon, the president and CEO of Walmart, who has a social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. He repurposes his content across his social media properties, focusing on company-specific topics, such as employee features and business milestones. While maintaining a professional tone, he still manages to come across as thoughtful and passionate about the content he’s sharing.

screenshot of walmart ceo doug mccmilon's facebook post

Which Social Media Persona Do You Convey?

After reading through part one and now part two of our series, what persona do you think you convey on social media? Is there a particular personality that aligns with your social media and business goals?

Stay tuned for the third and final part of our series coming soon!