It’s 2017. If the only digital trail that exists for your CEO is a Wikipedia page and your company’s website, it may be time to rethink how you’re building their digital brand. This doesn’t mean launch a Twitter account for them and call it a day. Twitter may be a smart tactic for your CEO, but it’s not the only thing to consider when developing a digital plan to raise their influence and credibility.
Developing a digital brand for your company’s leadership, or any high-profile individual, requires understanding who they are, what audiences they want to reach, and what makes them uniquely qualified to speak out on issues that are central to your organization’s mission. Here are four things to consider before jumping in:
Know Your CEO
Every CEO has a different story to tell for themselves and their company. Understanding what your CEO wants to accomplish and how they want to be portrayed online is the first step in developing that brand.
Take time to carefully consider what elements of your CEO's work, background, and personality separate them from the competition, and how those elements can be convened online. What’s their story and what about that story makes them a compelling individual? What type of leader are they? What are their personal and organizational goals? The answers to these questions will drive your digital strategy.
Know Your Audience
In all likelihood, your leadership is probably communicating with multiple audiences, both internal and external. Your audiences will determine where your leadership will have an active presence online.
Let’s go back to the Twitter example. If you want to reach media, policymakers, and slices of the consumer audience, then Twitter and Facebook will work well. If you’re talking to a professional audience, LinkedIn is a better fit. Do you want to bring audiences behind-the-scenes with real-time video and photos? Consider Instagram and Snapchat. Remember: it’s always better to walk before you run. Don’t feel pressured to launch a digital strategy that includes every platform on day one. It’s okay to start off with one or two, and work your way up as you identify your audience.
Just as speeches, statements, and interviews establish a voice for your CEO, so too can social media. Develop a voice and tone for your CEO that speaks to their personality, resonates with your audiences, and is consistent with other communications. What adjectives describe your CEO best? The answers will help guide your CEO’s digital voice, and create authenticity and trust with his or her digital communities.
Your content strategy will drive your credibility. Your CEO should engage on issues central to their expertise and the organization’s mission. Think about the perspective your CEO brings to the table, and how that could be conveyed online. Sharing a unique point of view from your organization and on issues central to your mission will help build your CEO’s credibility with his or her key audiences.