How Senior Leaders Can Embrace Social Media

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Social media a perilous territory, which explains why many senior business leaders happily avoid it.

But Jay Palter, a social media strategic and personal brand expert, contends senior leaders can successfully leverage social media by delivering insight and value while avoiding the pitfalls. 

In this episode of Marketing Spark, Jay offers pragmatic advice on how senior leaders should use social networks like LinkedIn and how success can be defined.

 

For more details about Jay and the podcast, check out the show notes

Welcome to marketing spark, the podcastthat delivers small doses of insight, tools and tips from marketers and entrepreneurs inthe trenches. By small doses, it's conversations that are fifteen minutes or less. Today I'm talking with J Palter, a social media strategist and personal brandexpert. Jay works with BB companies in the finance and technology sectors. Let'shere off with a question just in terms of the social media and landscape precovid and what happened has happened since, because the reality is we're not socializingthe way we used to, going to conferences and meet ups and actually goingto visit prospects and customers. So has social media become a lot more social? Yes, I'm really an advocate that social networks are in fact social networksfirst and not really marketing channels in their primary instant. So I believe inthe absence of in person meetings, we...

...really have social networking. We havevideo conferencing and and phone calls. Of course we always have, but socialnetworks and social media platforms are more important than they ever have been today becausewe have to stay in touch with people, we have to nurture and build ournetworks and we have to build what I call social capital, which isreally a positive outcome from those social interactions. What I'm wondering about is whether you'venoticed a discernible difference in how people are using social or trying to usesocial because you know a lot of people are some people that were really intoit, their social media animals and others are they come and they go.Some people like nor social media, but overall, has have you noticed achange in behavior? My experience has been in the last several months that there'smuch more focus on linkedin than ever before at a professional level, that peopleare kind of desperate to to meet others, engage, do all the things youdo when you attend a conference,...

...for instance, or you go toin person needing that mean you share ideas, you learn and I've seen a lotmore people engaged in those platforms. There's a lot more conversation happening inlinkedin between people. There's people writing articles, there's way more content that way,just people having a need to express themselves. I certainly see business networking, which I think is a I think is a really important part of socialsocial media and often overlooked in a corporate setting. I think that kind ofbehavior is really turned up and I don't think it's going to stop. Ithink even though the covid pandemic is going to play itself out over a longerperiod of time and there's going to be some opening up, I do thinkthere's going to be an ongoing need to maintain our relationships through digital, virtualsocial networks. I notice the same thing on linked in and you know,Microsoft made a very savvy investment when they bought linked in. I'm curious aboutyour thoughts on the amount of content that...

...is being published on Linkedin. Everybodyseems to be jumping on the bandway against. Some of it is very good,some of it is good and some of it you wonder what whether peopleare just going through the motions. One of the things I wonder about fromyour perspectives how do you break to the noise on linked in and and shouldpeople be worried about breaking through the noise when perhaps the value of Linkedin isthe networks that you can develop and the engagement you can have with other people? Yeah, but it's true that social networks do get they get crowded,they get noisey. There's lots of people competing for attention, and they,I mean everybody, still wants some attention for themselves and, you know,whatever services they might be offering to the world. My feeling has been fora long time that if you want to get people's attention, than you givepeople attention. And you know, for a corporate brand to do that itcan be kind of challenging at a little bit awkward to pay attention to peopletoo much when you're an individual may be representing a brand or working for anorganization that's a different activity. People are...

...much more receptive to somebody who's payingattention to them and perhaps sharing their content or commenting on their content, whichhelps their content get visibility. I mean that's actually one of the most effectiveways to get people to pay attention to you. Is just is just payit forward, and it's my experience has been it's hugely a hugely powerful toolfor getting people to pay attention and cut through the noise. My expression insocial networking is always be opening, not always be closing. So if you'reeven if you're trying to sell something in social networks, you're doing be tobsocial selling of some kind. You you really don't benefit by trying to getpeople to buy things directly in social networks. You get a lot more benefit bybuilding an audience, opening up new relationships and giving people a chance toget to know you better, because when they're ready to buy, they'll dotheir homework and they'll show up at your doorstep ready to talk to you quiteseriously, and that's when you have a conversation about about selling something. Nowyou spend a lot of time working with business leaders and helping them take advantageof social me media. How do you...

...think businesses have changed their opposed tosocial media and social media marketing due to Covid as? Have you noticed achange in their is it thought leadership? Are they trying to be trying tosell more? They trying to drive more connections? Have you? Have younoticed sort of discernible differences? I think in general there's been stepping back alittle bit from the selling and the marketing. Certainly in the first several weeks ofthe of the COVID crisis, people were isolated it. They were lockeddown at home or self quarantined and it was just not an environment. Peoplewere distracted. It was not a great environment to be be trying to getpeople's attention to sell them things, and so a lot of brands, Ithink, migrated in the direction of generally and inspiring people, trying to keeppeople's spirits up and inspire hopefulness and good thoughts, and that's transitioned a littlebit more as people recognize they have to get back to the business that they'rein. As I you know, as we've talked about, I feel thatthere's real opportunities for for peep business leaders,...

...for people who are involved in businesses, for the people that are involved in those organizations, to step forwardand get more active in in mobilizing their own social networks. We all havethem and they're often parked at the side and the sidelines and left for individualsto pursue if they want to or not. But I think, I think thesmarter leading corporations are looking at their human capital. They're human, youknow, the people working in the organization and the relationships they have and tryingto figure out how to mobilize those relationships in, you know, in supportof the organization. Yeah, I'm really interested in business leaders taking a moreactive role in social media because, you know, by and large, yousee a lot of a lot of employees very active on social media because they'vegot their own agendas. They want looking to raise their profiles, maybe they'retrying to change jobs. But for business leaders, I mean a platform likemcdonnon is a great place to to display...

...thought leadership. But but they alsohave to be very careful because there are pros and there are cons that youcan you can do some wonderful things on social media, can also get yourselfin trouble. How do you work with business leaders to make sure that they'retaking advantage of social media in the right ways and at the approach it properlyso it's a winman proposition. So it helps them and helps their companies,it helps their employees and customers. I think the first answer to that questionis the bigger the organization, the harder it is for our leader to stepforward and be effective in social networks. I just think the reality is there'sthere's more at stake, there's more people in the organization who are involved inmanaging the brand, there's their potentially greater risks of doing so and even withthe best intentions it can be very, very difficult. So, having saidthat, I do think that that's a small number of organizations that are outthere, businesses that are out there. I think smaller and medium size businesseshave much more opportunity to really have leaders...

...embrace social social networking in a strategicand a complementary way to to the brand messaging and the and the brand workthat's going on in the organization. Having said that, there they're still ourrisks and you you know, I think it's really important to to be mindfulof the brands and the brand messaging, to be complementary to that messaging and, I would argue, in fact, to be social. I think Ithink a lot of businesses could benefit by emphasizing the strong personality characteristics or leadershipaspects of of the leaders that they're there are issues that are not directly relatedto the business you're in but are related to maybe the role you play oror a commitment to a social cause or social issue or a charitable issue that'sthat's, you know, authentically close to your heart, that that's where there'sreal opportunity, I think, for leaders to step forward in and complement theirbrand, their brands of messaging. So...

I'm the CEO of a fairly highprofile brand I've noticed the work that you've done with other senior leaders and Isay to myself, I want to be more active on social media, Iwant to have a better presence on Linkedin. So I call you out. Weagree to work together. Where do we start? Walk me through theprocess from not having much of a social media presence to having a solid socialmedia presence. The first thing to do, I think, is to is tobe strategic about the people you want to reach out to, because we'renot, I mean, on some level, were you. We're going to engagean audience, and you know social media in general, but there arespecific high value individuals. They may be customers in your current business, theymay be prospects you have your eyes on, they may be influencers in in theecosystem in which you're doing business. Those folks become very strategically valuable.So I would start by saying let's let's determine who strategically important to us thatwe want to pay attention to. And...

...and then, you know, wedo some basic, not dissimilar to brand profiling. We do some basic personpersonal brand profiling trying to understand what are those issues that are the the leaderis passionate about and that are and make sure that those are consistent and alignedwith the brand messaging. And then we start to engage. And you know, that's why I'm trying to identify some strategically important folks, because the wayyou're going to get attention from anybody in your network is is paying some attention. Even if you're a CEO leader, made still valuable to pay attention towhat others are sharing and engage in those kinds of conversations and interactions. Sothat's I mean. In a nutshell, you want to have a stream ofinsightful content coming out that's not all coming from your organization. You're not justa, you know, our mouthpiece for the brand. You actually have apersonality the you're a leader or person in your own right and you have someauthenticity as a leader. It's we want to articulate all those things through curationand through engagement and comment. Yeah,...

...and that takes as you can imagine, that takes some time out of a busy week of a CEO. Sothe more help you can get from a team surrounding you, the better.So let may ask you a more challenging question. When it comes to workingwith senior executives. How do you define success? By the end of theday? What would make someone say, Jay, this has been awesome workingtogether. You've done X, Y and Z, and I'm super happy becauseyou've helped me achieve what? What do I get as a CEO? What'swhat is success to me? Well, it it's a really good question.It's a question everybody always asks and and I think partly success is relative tothe person and their objective. So I indicated there are, you know,we would go into that with some strategic objectives. Their individuals who are moreimportant perhaps to build relationships with, so we could measure some of our successin how effective we were at getting the attention of those folks of actually buildingrelationships. I believe strongly that the Roy have a lot of social networking.Activity is in fact relationships, and so...

...if you're the CEO of a companyand you identifying influencer you want to get to know, at the end ofthe day you walk away with a relation ship that lasts for years to come, with a person that's a high value person in the industry you're working inand that you know that that's it's a hard thing. The measure. Italso doesn't happen overnight, so you have to be patient. Takes some timewith it. But there are also metrics just around visibility. You could youcould be paying attention to making sure you're getting increasing engagement in your social sharesand there's a whole variety of ways to measure that. In the on thenative platforms linked in these days is the best, but off it doesn't havethe best access or visibility into the metrics of engagement, so that's a bitof a challenge with the platform itself. But yeah, in a nutshell,I think your success is relative to what your objectives are and in most businessleaders the objectives are build relationships with high value individuals in the industry and andof course you might get invited on podcasts you make in invited to speak atevents when they return or on virtual events.

Those are all also markers of successand building relationships and authority and visibility in the industry. Thanks for listeningto another episode of marketing spark. If you have questions, feedback or liketo suggest a guest, send an email to mark at Mark Evans Dots A. See next time.

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