The following is a letter I contributed to a 32-author book pulled together and published by my friends at Arment Dietrich. The book is called Dear CEO and provides advice to the top from business leaders who are experts on vision, culture, community and integration. It was my honor to be included in this group. To buy the full book, please visit http://www.spinsucks.com/webinars/
There‘s something you‘ve been hoping you could continue to ignore. Year after year the time to invest in establishing your role in the social web has just not existed. Now you may be finding you‘re out of date, that all those tools you were just starting to understand have morphed and changed and now 2011 looks overwhelming to you.
Don’t let another year pass with you out of the social loop.
There are a few, simple activities you can do that will get you connected and engaged to an acceptable level for a CEO. If you‘re not brave enough to investigate it on your own, hire someone to coach you through these (usually a half or possibly a whole day immersed in social media startup should do the trick).
Start using a feed reader such as Google Reader. At a minimum, you should be subscribing to your own company’s blog. You should also be subscribing to blogs and other online content in your industry. Follow the blogs of your team members, to stay informed about what’s going on in the lives of the people you work with; not so much to watchdog what’s being said. Learn how to create feeds to alert you to online mentions of your business, industry news or key people and plug them into the reader as well. Using a feed reader makes reading online content much more efficient – and is something you want others on your team to master; set the example by making it part of your daily routine.
Create a LinkedIn profile and if you already have one, make sure it is 100 percent complete. You are likely the best connected person in your company. Does your online presence reflect that? Your LinkedIn profile is searchable; make sure your profile is what you want others to find. It should include a photo, your complete work history and contact information. Take the time to upload all contacts. Help your business development team by allowing your social network to connect to theirs.
Set up a personal Twitter account with a real photo (not the company logo) and a name that makes sense (your actual name is a good place to start). Your bio should include the company name, your title and keywords that reflect the kind of business you‘re in. We don’t care if you tweet; in fact, don’t if you don’t have anything to say. Please follow people in your industry, your employees and others you find interesting. You can find these people by using a tool like Tweepz or by looking at who your colleagues follow. After you‘ve spent time listening to the Twitter conversation, you might find you have something to say after all.
Give others in your organization the authority to use social media, and therefore build relationships on behalf of the company. Whether you’re blogging, tweeting or doing nothing at all, make sure others in your organization know you endorse their involvement in social media on behalf of the company, and reward them for doing a good job.
Keeping up with the latest in communications is not easy and no one expects you to figure it out on your own. Ask for help when you need it and don‘t be afraid to admit that this is an area where you could use some guidance. There are plenty of resources out there to help you get what you need.
Best of luck,
Jaggers Communications LLC