Do you know who should be a company’s biggest champions?
Employees, I hear you say. And you’re probably right, but that’s only going to happen if a company has a super-engaged workforce and its employees are actually empowered to share the love via social channels, as well in offline forums (public events, with friends over the backyard barbecue). Actually, not only empowered but motivated to do so.
This is particularly important today as social media can help spread positive vibes about a brand far and wide, and if these ‘social vibes’ emanate authentically from passionately engaged employees, then it’s a massive win for the organisation in question.
But as research tells us time and time again, employees are not engaged.
Indeed, according to a Gallup study in the US, many employees are confused as to what the company they work for even stands for:
Too few “brand ambassadors” – According to the report, “Only 41% of employees felt that they know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors’ brands.” As always, such findings point to the need for more and clearer communication from senior management to all organizational levels. (SOURCE)
Herein lies the problem, and it’s not the fault of employees but more so a lack of passionate external communication (not to mention clarity internally) from an organisation’s leaders and senior executives.
I’ve always maintained the ‘C’ Suite, including company directors but also senior executives, should be at the forefront of a brand’s communication with the public. In the past, that would mostly have meant being front and centre of dealings with the media (preferably sans stilted messaging and media-trained slickness).
But today communications from leadership also means being actively engaged on social channels.
If a company’s senior management is not out there championing the business they’re running, if they’re not leading conversation or generating debate around issues affecting their industry or trends relevant to the company they represent, then who will?
You certainly can’t expect your employees to embrace social media and become unofficial ambassadors for your organisation if you’re not prepared to do it yourself.
Nuances of social media
There’s also a second very important reason why company directors need to be active on social media.
They need to understand, with depth, how it works. They need to develop an intuitive feeling for the nuances of the new media landscape. They need to ‘get’ how consumers today are connecting with brands and with each other using social technologies. In short, leaders and senior executives need to be fully ‘socialised’.
If you haven’t got first-hand knowledge and experience of the technologies that are disrupting the way businesses market to consumers (indeed, an understanding of how social media can impact upon the operation of a business positively or negatively), you will be at a distinct disadvantage in the boardroom.
Companies need leaders who are not only passionate about social media but also willing (and keen) to use their social networks and online publishing platforms to create content on behalf of the brand and interact with customers and influencers.