C-level executives and the social media

EXECUTIVES today, mostly the baby boomers, are faced with a technology-driven world. The dilemma they often face is whether to dabble in social media or not. There are different views. But whether social media is a boon or bane to an executive is often a question of how he makes use it to benefit his career, his business or even in his personal life.

In a survey by CEO.com in 2016 on Fortune 500 CEOs, 60 percent or 300 have no social-media accounts on any of the six major social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and YouTube. 

The fear of breaking the boundary on social and private lives is always in the mind of the executives. But with proper use, social media can help improve customer relationship with
the business.

Facebook and LiknedIn are more of a social nature than media. They are more about strengthening relationships. Twitter and YouTube, on the other hand, are more of media than social because they are often used to broadcast messages.  Facebook pages are more business-like and more company or business use. They are more popular than other web sites because of the ease in interaction and in the updates. But we are not talking here of social media being used for the sake of the company but by the executive himself.

Social media can best be used by executives for more meaningful engagement with clients. Allowing your clients to see the more personal side of you and vice versa creates a stronger personal relationship as long as you are careful with what you post. You can be authentic, but with care. Like avoiding discussions on political or religious views. You do not go criticizing a political issue that can go against the political views of others or impose denominational views. One may post spiritual values and in a Christian country like ours one is free to post Christian messages without having to criticize doctrinal differences.

One thing about social media is that it works faster compared to e-mails, just perfect for most executives who do not have time for postings and response. But clients understand that when you have your own personal Facebook account, they should avoid discussing business issues there. Such postings are more personal. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is more of business while Viber and WhatsApp can be both business and personal.

One need not be close to a client but social media can and does bring them closer. Being able to show your friends on Facebook to see the more personal side of you and vice versa helps create an emotional bond that can lead to stronger client relationships.

However, one just does not post anything and should be careful to not flood their account with nonsense posts.

In an interview by The Economist with Eden Yin, senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, he said: “Building a strong brand means creating strong emotions. There’s no better medium than social for creating a meaningful and emotional bond, because it is so intimate.”

But one has to be authentic, too. You just do not build relationships to grow your business but to have more meaningful ties with others. A business is built on trust and when people trust you, even if there are problems later on, they will go the extra mile to try to understand your side because they know you better. And social media helps create that familiarity which is otherwise nonexistent, especially when you are not able to interact constantly in other forms of communication or even on a face-to-face interaction due to
lack of time.

With the speed technology advances, the business models also changes with a cultural shift. You just have to know how to capitalize the cultural shift and adopt new business
models as needed.

The important thing to remember is that social media can be a boon if used properly. If not, it can backfire.  But without it, you might be left behind as technology advances.

 

Wilma Miranda is a managing partner of inventor, Miranda and Associates, CPAs, member, board of directors—KPS Outsourcing Inc. and treasurer of Negros Outsourcing Services Inc.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of these institutions.

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Wilma Miranda is the chairman of the Media Affairs Committee of Finex, treasurer of KPS Outsourcing Inc. and a managing partner of Inventor, Miranda & Associates.

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