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How to Turn your CEO into a Social Media Superstar [Podcast]

By Jody Leon06/07/2022February 19th, 2024No Comments
How To Turn Your CEO into A Social Media Superstar | DSMN8

[Episode Seven of ‘The Employee Advocacy and Influence Podcast] 🎧👇

Empower your employees like NEVER before!

Organizations all over the world in every sector are driving strategic competitive advantage by scaling the impact of their employees’ voices… and now YOU can too! As we delve beyond the why and get straight to the how so that you can put employee-driven growth at the heart of your organization.

Hosted by employee advocacy practitioner and CEO of DSMN8, Bradley Keenan.


Welcome to episode number seven of the Employee Advocacy and Influence podcast. My name is Bradley Keenan. I am the founder and CEO of the Employee Advocacy Platform – DSMN8.

Today, we are going to be talking about a question that we get asked all the time. And that is, how do I get my CEO to start to post on social?

How To Turn Your CEO into A Social Media Superstar

If you work in a marketing or employer branding role, then it’s going to be no secret to you that having a CEO who posts on social is extremely valuable. It’s a tool that you can use that makes your company more attractive to work for.

I saw a social media post the other day, it was from the Brunswick Group. It talked about how as a ratio of 4 to 1, people prefer to work for companies who have a CEO who is active on social.

So aside from all of the reach that we can get from having CEO’s support a marketing message, there’s a huge reason why employer branding people will benefit from this as well.

But getting a CEO to become active on social, if they’ve never posted before isn’t necessarily something that’s going to be very easy to do.

In this episode, I’m going to try to give you a framework that you can use to essentially go from never posting, to having a CEO that posts frequently and does that in a way that is manageable for you and doesn’t mean that they need to go from zero to hero overnight.

Do THIS if your CEO doesn’t ‘Get’ Social!

If you’ve already spoken internally to your CEO or anybody else in your C-suite about sharing on social and you have received pushback. To me, there are different levels to that push back that would essentially mean I would, if I was in the position of a marketing manager and employer branding managers shoes, act differently.

Say you have a CEO that says, I see the value in it, but I just don’t have the time and then you have a CEO that says “Hey, I don’t believe in social, I don’t use LinkedIn” and really sees it as a negative and something they actively don’t want to do.

Now, this might sound a little bit harsh, but if I was a forward-thinking marketing or employer branding manager, or director and I had a CEO that really push back on social in the current climate, I would just look for another job.

It might sound a little bit severe but if you’re good at what you do, there’s a huge amount of opportunities out there and I would say trying to convince somebody that social is a good idea if they’re absolutely not listening is probably going to be a waste of your valuable time.

Do THIS if your CEO doesn’t have ‘Time’ for Social!

But if you’ve got somebody who kind of sees the value in it but says they don’t have time, then by them saying they don’t have time, it essentially means that it’s just not high enough on their priority list.

So what we need to do is, first of all, get them to see the value and a great way of doing that is to essentially look at their own LinkedIn reach, or their Twitter reach and any of the social handles that they would use for any for sharing company content.

So predominantly that’s going to be LinkedIn and Twitter and try to create some kind of financial model that shows the value that they could create by just sharing one post a week and you can do that by taking their audience looking at reach numbers and then using your LinkedIn ad manager just to get a forecast of what would that reach cost if we would go and buy it?

And you can quickly say that I believe that if you were to post once a week, it would generate X thousand dollars of comparative media spend for us and really, that takes the emotion out of the equation because we’re not asking you to choose whether you like to share on social we’re just saying this is the value of you posting.

Do THIS if your CEO is ‘Worried’ about Posting on Social!

Now, one of the bits of feedback that we get which actually came as a surprise to me when we look, at why C-level executives don’t share, is that it’s often less about whether they see social as valuable and more about how much risk they associate with doing it wrong.

So an example of that would be, let’s say they were to create a social post and they referred to a let’s say they were advertising for somebody to join a role within the company and they used a male pronoun when they were referring to somebody who was going to be in a senior leadership position.

It’s a relatively innocent post for them to share, but it would quickly create a reaction from people because they would see as the CEO having a bias towards men working in senior leadership positions. So that’s an example of where something could go wrong quite quickly.

So what most C-level executives think is well actually the downside is so much greater than the upside of sharing that it’s actually safer for me just to stay neutral and to not say anything.

So a good way to get started is to think about sharing one post per week over a fixed period of time and just run it as a pilot.

If you can speak to your CEO and say, why don’t we post once a week and we will pre-approve those posts. If we do this for three months, we’re going to have 12 posts.

So we’re going to pre-approve those 12 posts.

We’re going to get legal to check them, make sure that they’re happy and we’re going to schedule those posts for you and what you can do is sit down with that CEO for just an hour and get their perspectives on certain topics in your organisation.

You might have a certain technology, that you want to get their opinion on and you can quickly create, 12 social media posts for a marketing executive is not going to take very long at all because it’s going to be valuable because of the upside that you’re going to get.

So now that you have 12 social media posts they are approved by legal so, the CEO is going to feel safe about sharing them. We are going to schedule these over the next three months.

But before we hit go, we want to collect as much data about that moment in time, pre-CEO activation, so we want to collect things, like how many followers did the CEO have on LinkedIn and Twitter or whatever social network you are using. We want to look at what was their reach of content over the previous 90 days and assume that they’ve only posted once or twice.

The reach is going to be quite small. But we want to collect that piece of data and we also want to collect things like how many profile views did they get?

Then what we’re going to do is as we start to schedule that content every week or month we just want to collect those same data points so we can track them over a three-month period and what we want to see is that, as the CEO starts to share the reach of the content grows and in three months we’re probably not going to set the world on fire, but we’re going to create a trend that’s going to give us ammo to move from one post a week, to two and three posts a week.

So naturally, we want the engagement of those posts to be as good as possible and a very easy way to do that is to simply take the post that the CEO has shared and copy the URL for that post and drop it into whatever internal communications program you use, whether that’s Yammer or Slack or anywhere that you can communicate with your employees, and encourage them to go in and interact with that post.

Comments are always going to be preferred, but simply adding a like is going to improve the reach of that content and is going to further fuel the case study you’re going to put together for this three-month pilot.

The Worries of Sharing on Social

So it’s worth saying at this point that there are reasons why CEOs won’t post on social and there are reasons why employees won’t share and they’re not necessarily the same reasons and here’s a very clear difference between the risks that come from a CEO sharing versus a regular employee.

A CEO is worried about getting something wrong and it coming back on them, as we’ve already explained.

For an employee, one of the main reasons and this surprised me when I first realised this actually because I hadn’t thought of it, is the risk for the employees that if they have never shared content before or they’ve only shared a very small amount and all of a sudden they start sharing loads of content and it’s really well structured and thought out.

The worry is that the company that they work for is going to look at them and say why is Bradley all of a sudden becoming a social media influencer and growing his personal brand? Why is he doing that?

And the assumption would be that they’re looking to further their career, internally or potentially externally.

So often people won’t share on LinkedIn because they’re worried it sends a signal to their company that they’re looking for another job which in most cases isn’t actually the case.

So by the CEO becoming active, it essentially validates that process for everyone else.

How to Create a Compelling Business Case

So another piece of data you should collect pre-pilot and post-pilot is the percentage of employees that are currently sharing on LinkedIn and then look at the percentage of them that share post-pilot once they’ve seen that validation come from the CEO.

There are a number of ways that you can get that data (DSMN8 can gather it for you for free) and that is another data point to say, that actually this action that’s happening at the top of the company is filtering through and it’s further growing the reach of our content.

So let’s fast forward to the point where the pilot has taken place you’ve been gathering this weekly data as you go through and now what you’re going to do is create some kind of business case, PowerPoint presentation whatever.

But simply you’re going to show that we started here, we shared once a week and this is the comparative media value that we created by doing it.

And the most important part of this is if we were to move to two posts a week and three posts a week, this is the value we would be creating, and how much this reach would cost us if we were just to go and buy it through LinkedIn or paid media.

It’s really easy with a single individual, especially someone like a CEO, where you can create such a compelling business case that it would be irresponsible not to be sharing content if you were the CEO, and that’s ultimately where you want to get to.

As I said, this isn’t an overnight success and some CEOs may have never posted content on LinkedIn or Twitter before.

Getting them to the point that they’re posting five times a week could take 12-24 months.

But it’s important to have a plan that is going to essentially help you progress.

The Social CEO Framework

So let’s summarise the steps that we’ve spoken about.

The first thing that you need to do is create content that is safe for the CEO to share and you do that by involving legal having other people in the business check the content, making sure that everybody’s happy with it.

A good way to do that is to look for what we would call evergreen content.

So that would be, not talking about a webinar that’s coming up on Friday and instead essentially writing a post that could be shared any time in the year and it would always be valid.

Then we want to use our existing tools, our internal communications platforms or email to essentially ask employees to interact with the posts once they’re shared so we can improve the probability that the content is going to see the reach that it deserves.

Then the final step is building an ROI model so taking the before and after data and essentially creating a mechanism to prove to the business why we should move from sharing one thing a week to two, three potentially even sharing content every single day.

So thank you for taking the time to listen to this episode of our podcast I hope it gives you plenty to think about and really gets you on that journey to building that superstar social SEO that everybody dreams of working for.

Contact details for me will be in the footnotes of the show, along with some additional resources and as always, please do feel free to reach out and connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Jody Leon

VP of Marketing at DSMN8. With over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising, Jody leads the DSMN8 marketing team, covering brand, demand, and product marketing.