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 podcast that delivers small doses of insight, tools and tips from marketers and entrepreneurs in the 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 brand expert. Jay works with BB companies in the finance and technology sectors. Let's here off with a question just in terms of the social media and landscape pre covid and what happened has happened since, because the reality is we're not socializing the way we used to, going to conferences and meet ups and actually going to 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 networks first and not really marketing channels in their primary instant. So I believe in the absence of in person meetings, we...

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

...for instance, or you go to in person needing that mean you share ideas, you learn and I've seen a lot more people engaged in those platforms. There's a lot more conversation happening in linkedin 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 social social media and often overlooked in a corporate setting. I think that kind of behavior is really turned up and I don't think it's going to stop. I think even though the covid pandemic is going to play itself out over a longer period of time and there's going to be some opening up, I do think there's going to be an ongoing need to maintain our relationships through digital, virtual social 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 about your thoughts on the amount of content that...

...is being published on Linkedin. Everybody seems 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 people are just going through the motions. One of the things I wonder about from your perspectives how do you break to the noise on linked in and and should people be worried about breaking through the noise when perhaps the value of Linkedin is the 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 for a long time that if you want to get people's attention, than you give people attention. And you know, for a corporate brand to do that it can be kind of challenging at a little bit awkward to pay attention to people too much when you're an individual may be representing a brand or working for an organization that's a different activity. People are...

...much more receptive to somebody who's paying attention to them and perhaps sharing their content or commenting on their content, which helps their content get visibility. I mean that's actually one of the most effective ways to get people to pay attention to you. Is just is just pay it forward, and it's my experience has been it's hugely a hugely powerful tool for getting people to pay attention and cut through the noise. My expression in social networking is always be opening, not always be closing. So if you're even if you're trying to sell something in social networks, you're doing be tob social selling of some kind. You you really don't benefit by trying to get people to buy things directly in social networks. You get a lot more benefit by building an audience, opening up new relationships and giving people a chance to get to know you better, because when they're ready to buy, they'll do their homework and they'll show up at your doorstep ready to talk to you quite seriously, and that's when you have a conversation about about selling something. Now you spend a lot of time working with business leaders and helping them take advantage of social me media. How do you...

...think businesses have changed their opposed to social media and social media marketing due to Covid as? Have you noticed a change in their is it thought leadership? Are they trying to be trying to sell more? They trying to drive more connections? Have you? Have you noticed sort of discernible differences? I think in general there's been stepping back a little bit from the selling and the marketing. Certainly in the first several weeks of the of the COVID crisis, people were isolated it. They were locked down at home or self quarantined and it was just not an environment. People were distracted. It was not a great environment to be be trying to get people's attention to sell them things, and so a lot of brands, I think, migrated in the direction of generally and inspiring people, trying to keep people's spirits up and inspire hopefulness and good thoughts, and that's transitioned a little bit more as people recognize they have to get back to the business that they're in. As I you know, as we've talked about, I feel that there'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 forward and get more active in in mobilizing their own social networks. We all have them and they're often parked at the side and the sidelines and left for individuals to pursue if they want to or not. But I think, I think the smarter leading corporations are looking at their human capital. They're human, you know, the people working in the organization and the relationships they have and trying to figure out how to mobilize those relationships in, you know, in support of the organization. Yeah, I'm really interested in business leaders taking a more active role in social media because, you know, by and large, you see a lot of a lot of employees very active on social media because they've got their own agendas. They want looking to raise their profiles, maybe they're trying to change jobs. But for business leaders, I mean a platform like mcdonnon is a great place to to display...

...thought leadership. But but they also have to be very careful because there are pros and there are cons that you can you can do some wonderful things on social media, can also get yourself in trouble. How do you work with business leaders to make sure that they're taking advantage of social media in the right ways and at the approach it properly so 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 question is the bigger the organization, the harder it is for our leader to step forward and be effective in social networks. I just think the reality is there's there's more at stake, there's more people in the organization who are involved in managing the brand, there's their potentially greater risks of doing so and even with the best intentions it can be very, very difficult. So, having said that, I do think that that's a small number of organizations that are out there, businesses that are out there. I think smaller and medium size businesses have much more opportunity to really have leaders...

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

I'm the CEO of a fairly high profile brand I've noticed the work that you've done with other senior leaders and I say to myself, I want to be more active on social media, I want to have a better presence on Linkedin. So I call you out. We agree to work together. Where do we start? Walk me through the process from not having much of a social media presence to having a solid social media presence. The first thing to do, I think, is to is to be strategic about the people you want to reach out to, because we're not, I mean, on some level, were you. We're going to engage an audience, and you know social media in general, but there are specific high value individuals. They may be customers in your current business, they may be prospects you have your eyes on, they may be influencers in in the ecosystem 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 that we want to pay attention to. And...

...and then, you know, we do some basic, not dissimilar to brand profiling. We do some basic person personal brand profiling trying to understand what are those issues that are the the leader is passionate about and that are and make sure that those are consistent and aligned with 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 way you'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 to what others are sharing and engage in those kinds of conversations and interactions. So that's I mean. In a nutshell, you want to have a stream of insightful content coming out that's not all coming from your organization. You're not just a, you know, our mouthpiece for the brand. You actually have a personality the you're a leader or person in your own right and you have some authenticity as a leader. It's we want to articulate all those things through curation and through engagement and comment. Yeah,...

...and that takes as you can imagine, that takes some time out of a busy week of a CEO. So the 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 working with senior executives. How do you define success? By the end of the day? What would make someone say, Jay, this has been awesome working together. You've done X, Y and Z, and I'm super happy because you've helped me achieve what? What do I get as a CEO? What's what 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 to the person and their objective. So I indicated there are, you know, we would go into that with some strategic objectives. Their individuals who are more important perhaps to build relationships with, so we could measure some of our success in how effective we were at getting the attention of those folks of actually building relationships. 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 company and you identifying influencer you want to get to know, at the end of the 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 in and that you know that that's it's a hard thing. The measure. It also doesn't happen overnight, so you have to be patient. Takes some time with it. But there are also metrics just around visibility. You could you could be paying attention to making sure you're getting increasing engagement in your social shares and there's a whole variety of ways to measure that. In the on the native platforms linked in these days is the best, but off it doesn't have the best access or visibility into the metrics of engagement, so that's a bit of 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 business leaders the objectives are build relationships with high value individuals in the industry and and of course you might get invited on podcasts you make in invited to speak at events when they return or on virtual events.

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

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