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14 Tips for Leaders Using Social Media

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Leadership likes to be introspective. It also likes to appear pleasant and inoffensive. As public sensibilities grow keener, this becomes more difficult. However, it is smart to foster a corporate culture of diversity and sensitivity.

So, when it comes to social media, should you, as a CEO, manager, consultant, business owner, independent contractor, entrepreneur, only post things that have a positive impact on others, or things that move you toward your goals?

This sounds like a good policy, but an occasional remark about a hot political topic or news item is probably okay. In fact, it may be considered mandatory, if it ties in somehow with your industry or field of expertise. This is a powerful SEO technique.

The best way to deal with a controversial issue is to mildly state a question, make a unique off-the-cuff observation, or point out a fact that may have escaped notice.

There is a way to deal with divisive issues, especially when you simply talk about a technical aspect of the situation, without taking sides or provoking inflammatory responses.

As an example, when the Affordable Care Act website was first released to the public there was great controversy and heated debate about the provider of the website and the IT team. At one point, I did say a few things about technical aspects of the website and its dysfunctionality, without saying anything at all about Obamacare itself.

Tying in with a controversial news item can be essential for SEO and thought leadership, especially when it's related to your field of expertise. It's a great way to gain a competitive advantage, since most companies are negligent in this regard.

A CEO, manager, business owner, consultant should be on Facebook in a manner that fulfills the following objectives.

The 14 Tips

(1) Share your expertise (from a customer-centric How You Can ______" viewpoint), your corporate values, and company participation in local organizations and community benevolence.

(2) Provide answers to common questions, and specific inquiries, related to your industry. Ask your receptionist, sales clerks, and customer service staff what people are asking about all the time.

(3) Respond to news items, building a bridge from the topic to your expertise or products, whenever possible.

(4) Be warm, human, approachable, genuinely engaged in the Facebook community.

(5) Click like, comment, and share on other people's posts.

(6) Avoid grinding out relentless ad messages, event promotions, and sales hype.

(7) Discuss your personal interests once in a while: your hobbies, music tastes, favorite movies, restaurants you like, artists you admire, jokes, anecdotes and experiences.

(8) Answer questions Facebook users ask when you have special knowledge related to the topic.

(9) Photos of company staff at fundraisers, concerts, local high school basketball games, conferences, trade shows, charity events.

(10) Photos of product in use, meeting the needs of customers.

(11) Videos of your TV commercials, with embed code so brand loyalists and fans can display your commercials on their own blogs.

(12) Videos of CEO serving as keynote speaker at prestigious affair.

(13) Genuine testimonials of satisfied, uncompensated customers (no bribing them to give glowing review).

(14) Clever use of extreme strategic clarity, aka “self-deprecation marketing.”

AN EXAMPLE:

"Product A is not designed for commercial, all day, all night snow plowing, but if you just want to clear your driveway and a few neighbors, this device is perfect. Easy to use, affordable, and rugged enough for your requirements."

This is how I was trained to write direct marketing campaigns when I was working at Garden Way Marketing Associates, the in-house ad agency for Troy-Bilt garden tillers and power machinery.

They also used the CEO, Dean Leath, as a real, living cult of personality strategy. His smiling, home-spun face radiated honesty on all the mailings and ads. "Just One Hand" was their slogan. The big, beefy tiller was so easy to use, all you really needed was one hand to guide it.

So they made wild-sounding but true claims about the product line, but when it came to model selection, a gritty, brutal honesty about "Good for this, but not for that" aspects to enable customers to make a good choice.

Too much self-admiration hyperbole (exaggeration) will wreck your credibility with customers. They are sick of corporate bragging and strutting. Customers now favor the simple, humble, but confident supplier.

Keep these 14 recommendations in mind – and your use of social media will be effective for both brand loyalty and sales.

 

About the Author
Steven Streight is a man of many skills. He’s a talented writer, web content developer, internet marketing consultant and photographer. He’s a trustee on the Peoria Historical Society, a member of SCORE Peoria and the author of the Peoria technology history book, “Bicycle Fever.” In his downtime, he’s hangs out with his beloved Min Pin and tries to get some rest. Considering how involved he is in the community, it sounds like he could use as much as he can get.