This week on the Wednesday Edition of my radio show, Talk Business With Howard, the guest will be Lori Gama. Lori is the Online Visibility Expert and founder of DaGama Web Studio. We will be talking about how CEOs and business owners can embrace social media by actively and regularly participating in the conversation happening on Twitter – plus the latest on great design for your company’s website and blog. The radio show broadcasts live on Wednesday, February 27 at 11 AM/ET on Blog Talk Radio. To listen to the live broadcast, click here – or bookmark this page and listen to the replay. Thank you, Lori, for being a guest on the radio show and for this guest blog post. -Howard-
10 Twitter Tips For The Social CEO
Are you a successful CEO who’s consistently led your company with ground-breaking solutions, achieved milestone after milestone and now you’re thinking about using Twitter to connect with your customers and employees but you’re afraid of it? This article is for you.
First of all, you’re not alone in being a bit fearful or cautious in using Twitter. Only 3.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs have joined Twitter, as of 2012. Twitter usage amongst Fortune 500 CEOs increased very little from 2011 to 2012: from 3.4% to 3.8%, according to this must-read report by CEO.com and DOMO. Have no fear: after you read my tips, which were written specifically for the Social CEO, you’ll soon have your “A-ha!” moment with Twitter and understand its power and pleasure.
I want you to start thinking of Twitter as one of the “vehicles” of your marketing. And, just like it took time to learn how to drive a car for the first time, give yourself some time to learn how to “drive” Twitter and soon you’ll be getting to where you want to go. (Don’t worry: I’ll explain where that is, exactly.)
Top 10 Twitter Tips for the Social CEO
Tip #1: Always remember that you represent your company and that everyone is watching you – your customers, potential customers, employees, your competitors and news media people. Therefore, you must… (See Tip #2).
Tip #2: Always be honest, kind and thoughtful with your Tweets while, at the same time, allowing tasteful (keyword: “tasteful”) glimpses of your life and personality to shine through (see Tips #8 and 9).
Tip #3: Meet with your marketing director and communications director before you start Tweeting to get their advice for your Social CEO Twitter strategy. Be prepared to answer these questions: Why do you want to Tweet? Is it to build brand awareness? (If it IS to raise brand awareness then you’ve got to be sure to do it in such a way that you’re not broadcasting like a commercial – that’s the fastest way to fail). Is it to improve employee retention? To increase revenue? It could very well be all of the above, plus other reasons. Bottom-line: have a strategy that’s been vetted by your public relations people, whom, I’m assuming, have already been trained by a professional social marketing expert.
Tip #4: Don’t forget to read your own company’s Social Media Policy before you Tweet your first Tweet. If you don’t have one in place, get that policy written and approved by everyone you decide should approve it. Your Social Media Policy definitely has to be approved by your legal department. The sooner you get it written, the sooner you can start Tweeting. Also, having a Social Media Crisis Plan written down is good insurance, just in case you or someone else on your Tweeting team should make a mistake. Usually, simply being transparent and quickly apologetic is good enough in most Social Media Crisis cases but you should be prepared for the worst case scenarios, just in case.
Tip #5: Now that all of your t’s have been crossed and i’s have been dotted: write your first five Tweets in a Word document and get them approved by your public relations team before you post them in Twitter. Even the CEO has to have training wheels on for the first few Tweets. After that, you’ll know how to “drive the car” and can take it out for a cruise without any supervision (though, I do recommend that your public relations team subscribe to your Twitter account to receive your Tweets to their mobile phones so they’re always aware of what you’re sharing in Twitter. And yes: anyone can subscribe to your Tweets to receive them like text messages to their phone – including those curious news media folks. That’s why you should always follow Tips #1 and 2). After your first batch of Tweets has been approved, you can now begin by Tweeting your first Tweet. Warning: Don’t send all five Tweets at once because you would be spamming the Twitter feed and appear to be quite amateurish.
Tip #6: If you wanted to, you could automate but I don’t recommend that because then you wouldn’t be authentic and you’d be violating Tip #2. Remember Tip #1: everyone is watching you in Twitter (and any time you post something online). If you do want to automate, you could use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite but anytime you rely on technology be ready with a back-up plan if things go awry — as in, the same Tweet gets sent out two times in a row, for instance. If that were to happen, your followers would know you’re using a scheduling tool and your authenticity and integrity would come into question. That’s why I don’t recommend this for CEOs.
Tip #7: Remember your manners: Be sure you respond to anyone who Tweets you back within 1-24 hours. When someone specifically mentions your name (which becomes a live link to your Twitter profile) you should respond. After all, building a community involves leadership skills such as listening to your community and talking with them. You do this with your employees, right? I could go on and on about proper social media etiquette but I’ll end this tip with this last item: Be sure to thank people who share your Tweets with their own followers (that’s called Re-Tweeting or an RT) or otherwise they might stop doing this. The people who do it a lot are your Brand Evangelistas. They should at least be thanked in a Tweet from the CEO for raving about your company to their followers.
Tip #8: Share tasteful (keyword: tasteful) glimpses of your life in the office. If you feel comfortable sharing a little of your personal life, do so sparingly and always have the safety and security of your loved ones in mind. A good rule to follow: if you wouldn’t share it with a huge audience of strangers that you’re speaking to at a conference, then don’t share it online.
Tip #9: Review your favorite CEOs who have been Tweeting for a while and see what their style of Tweeting is. You may pick up some great ideas and you might see what NOT to Tweet about, too. To find them, I recommend you go to Google and type in the word “Twitter” and your CEO’s name, plus the acronym “CEO”, like this: Twitter Jane Smith, CEO. If your favorite CEO is on Twitter, s/he should show up in the search results if she has “CEO” in her Twitter biography or if she or he is a famous CEO on Twitter. You could use Twitter’s search box, too, as they have recently improved their search functionality.
Here’s a tiny sampling of CEOs on Twitter:
Bob Fish, Biggby Coffee: https://twitter.com/BiggbyBob
Richard Branson, Virgin: https://twitter.com/richardbranson
Marissa Mayer, Yahoo: https://twitter.com/marissamayer
Fernando Aguirre, former CEO Chiquita: https://twitter.com/FdoAguirreCEO
Charlene Li, Altimeter Group: https://twitter.com/charleneli
Rupert Murdoch, Newscorp: https://twitter.com/rupertmurdoch
Tip #10: My final tip is gleaned from a study done by Brandfog, which proved that Social CEOs (with the right training and strategy) can have major success and even increase company revenue:
Why should CEOs be interested in social media? According to a recent survey of employees by Brandfog:
• 77% believe a social CEO will increase business purchases
• 78% want to work for a social CEO
• 81% believe social CEOs are better leaders
• 82% believe social CEOs are more trustworthy
• 93% believe social CEOs are better equipped for crisis management
• 94% believe social CEOs will enhance the company’s brand
If your company is not yet engaging with its community via social media, please present this fact to your team at the next meeting or else your revenue will continue to drop: “81% of Brandfog’s respondents believe that CEOs who engage in social media are better equipped than their peers to lead companies in a Web 2.0 world.”
Lori Gama is The Online Visibility Expert and founder of DaGama Web Studio. She works with entrepreneurs, speakers, authors, experts and business professionals to create visibility, credibility and profitability by leveraging web design, social networking, video marketing, search engine optimization, and blogging. Lori is also the author of Become a Twitter Pro in 20 Days: a Beginner’s Guide to Twitter and is launching her YouTube show called: “Visibility TV,” where she interviews guest experts who help viewers get more visibility online. She writes a popular e-zine and blog; and speaks to groups about growing business with the tools of technology and the Web. She has been quoted by CNN, NBCLatino, The Huffington Post, The Coloradoan Newspaper, as well as various other online and offline publications. You can catch up with her every day in Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn or by visiting her website: DaGamaWebStudio.com.