10 reasons why every CEO has to get on Twitter now
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh gets it with 236,000 followers. If you are a CEO, it’s time to get on Twitter. If you know a CEO, do him or her a favor and tell him to get on Twitter. If you are the PR counsel to a CEO, make him get on Twitter. America has about had it with our business leaders: from Enron’s deceit, to the auto industry’s incompetency, to AIG’s bonuses. Trust and confidence is at an all time low. Even Steve Jobs is no longer immune given the lack of openness about his illness. There’s a sense that you’re insular, selfish, focused on the short term and don’t give a damn about anyone but yourself and maybe the board that protects you. But if you get on Twitter, here’s what will happen.
1. You’ll personally get to hear and feel what people think about your company, about your industry and about you.
2. You’ll discover that you don’t have to be so damn scared of the public. They’re not trying to bring you down. They just want you to be accountable.
3. You’ll find that there are hundreds, if not thousands of smart people with good ideas that can actually help you lead and make decisions.
4. You’ll be surprised to find that the return on being honest and open and generous is as high as virtually any other investment you can make.
5. You’ll encounter a community of people willing to give you credit just for being there and trying.
6. You’ll get a chance to test and improve your ideas, your communication skills and your knowledge of popular culture.
7. You’ll be taking the first step toward building a customer-centric organization.
8. You’ll have the chance to turn prospects into customers, customers into loyalists, and loyalists into advocates.
9. You’ll be a significant step ahead of your competitors unless they get there before you.
10. You’ll conclude that you never again want to be so isolated from the people who buy, and will buy, your products and services.
The holy grail has just been handed to you. What in God’s name are you waiting for?
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Louise is absolutely right. Most CEOs, particularly Fortune 500 CEOs, have WAY too much going on to spend time twittering. 15 minutes a day to sift through all the noise and respond in a meaningful way? Unlikely.
I'm on twitter, love it, and having spent some time in Fortune 500 boardrooms, I just can't see CEOs spending their time here. How often do you see Barak Obama, widely recognized as being on top of social media, personally twittering?
Perhaps it's time for a CTwO (Chief Twitter Officer)?
This is an excellent straight forward article. The problem that many are struggling with is drawing that link between the actual twitter interaction and customer activity. It can be done through measurement and diagnostics generating the ever-illusive ROI, but one must make it a priority. Slowing down to speed up in this space seems to make a dramatic difference. It's time for CEOs (and all stakeholders for that matter) to get involved at a deeper level than what's been done historically. The trust that this type of interaction will generate will blow their minds.
Great Article.. One of the great tragedies, is that most ceo's just dont get it.. they think Twitter is selling, and so dont get many followers. they dont engage with people, they dont share resources, knowledge, opinions, advice, ideas, and finally, the dont personalise the account, but rather hide behind the corporate identity etc...
Twitter offers so much to them.. where else can you get real time info on what people actually think about your brand, real time customers complaining about things, where you can engage and sort out the issues, communicate about your brand identity, your brand values, and perhaps even offer your loyal customers / followers special offers / prices....
Great post. Straightforward and honest. It seems like companies shy away from social media for reasons that could easily be remedied if they'd just start using it! Thanks again for the post!
It's also an opportunity for CEO's to find/hear/see great ideas from new people. Heck, there's an opportunity to find your next great employee. That's why I'm on there- to express myself and hopefully get noticed.
Milwaukee Bucks tell Charlie Villanueva not to Twitter ...
Thank you. As always, you are one of the emerging users of social media who totally get it. I fear that the world hasn't completely caught up to you and others who think more inventively, but it will.
I appreciate your comments. And it's a valid point that CEOs don't have a lot of time. But they may have little choice. The public wants both accountability and accessibility. And customer-centric organizations will win. Also, it may be a CEOs best weapon in managing his or her own image and reputation. There are lots of posts on how this can be done with just 15 minutes a day. My prediction is it will happen. Thanks for your comments. I hope it will make for a good dialog.
It will take more than my voice to get them here, but I assure you they will get here. The world will demand it. They no longer control their brands or the content that defines them. So they'd better engage. And no, I doubt that the AIG CEO is here. But if he had been he could have done some damage control.
The reason the CEO's of Fortune 1000 companies are not on twitter (and I work for a company that is at that level) is very very simple.
This advice will be ignored by CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and rightly so. Tweeting should NOT be their priority.
Great article. I look forward to seeing how many CEO's actually hear your voice!
By the way is the CEO of AIG on Twitter?
Great piece. Amazing that so many CEO's still don't get this couple of other thoughts and support points to the above:
-One of the key reasons CEO's and companies stay out of this space is time commitment, no excuse, but it take take time
-Social takes ROI from return on investemnt, to return on involvement to RETURN ON INFORMATION -- use social as an INSIGHT ENGINE
-Everything should be social -- social TV, social banners,....
-Leverage "Transmission Effect" -- persons spreading your brand
-Consumers do not adhere to a convienent linear path -- they create their own personal path to the brand
I've just posted this to my followers on Twitter. Excellent.
I read an article this morning in ADWEEK "Twitter Jitters: Despite concerns, agency CEOs find themselves addicted to the text-based social network" Unfortunately CEOs within our own industry aren't participating and often when they do it is evident they don't "get it" when it comes to social media.
Love the 12 seconds idea or a video blog linked to Twitter. Easy to do. Think the PR microblogger is fine for the company and as a spokesperson. We do that for some of our clients. But not as a replacement or ghost writer for a CEO. That should be the real deal. Or it would be too obvious.
Thanks for the response Edward. I totally agree with you. As long as you can be there to engage - and not have a 'ghost-twitterer' (like PR or corp comm) writing words for you.
I think it would be best for that PR and corp comm team to analyze all the negatives of the past that are still remembered and make sure the boss and the company are on the same page. But the speaker should be the real deal.
On large issues, I'd like to see 12 seconds used for answers more.
It makes total sense. There are numerous benefits to a CEO engaging and listening. But interestingly, simply being there will earn him or her points. There will be an appreciation and an acknowledgment providing there's no BS and there's honest and open engagement.
What do you guys think about having CEO's on Twitter to help turn around current negative thoughts about a company?
IMO: I think it's more of an ego thing. F1000 CEO's seem to believe they know what's good for the greater cause of humanity, and that their idealization of how things should be, is absolute.
Great article. Why do you think CEOs at Fortune 1000 and/or publicly traded companies are so afraid of Social Media, and in particular Twitter? Fear of competitors getting wind of their ideas? Fear of disclosing insider trading/secure information? Many say that they want "customer-centric" organizations, but if that's the case, why do they hesitate to interact with actual customers/prospects in this medium?