If you are in a leadership position in a corporation and you’re not tweeting, blogging or connecting with clients and colleagues via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, what are you waiting for?

Wait…let me guess…

  • “I don’t have time for that nonsense.”
  • “My tweets would only get me – and my company – in trouble.”
  • “I really don’t have much to say, and besides, who will listen?
  • “I’d prefer to keep my social network and my corporate network separate.”
  • “I fail to see the benefit of chirping about my life.”

Now…let’s address these one by one…

“I don’t have time for that nonsense.”

If you have time to read the news over morning coffee, on the train, or at your desk, you have time for social media. While getting started on social media does require some time and effort up front, keeping up with it can be as quick and easy as your morning latte.

If you’re like most, you are getting your news online. You browse to your favorite news site, jump to the news topics that interest you, scan the headlines for what you need, and read the articles. Add just one step to that process, and you’re engaged in social media marketing. ff

Say you’re the leader of a window manufacturing plant in Minnesota. Your daily scan of online news revealed breaking news about new tax credits for energy-efficient home products, including windows. Great news for you! This could well mean that demand for your product will be on the rise. Now, instead of simply reading that article, smiling and going about your day, why not use social media to help spread the word? The article that you just read most likely had a few little icons for sharing it with the world next to it. If you have a Facebook or Twitter account, sharing that news is seriously as easy as clicking those buttons. Instantly, your Facebook wall or your Twitter ‘What’s happening?’ box is populated with the article headline and a link to that article. Add your two cents, click your Share or Tweet button, and voila! You’ve just engaged with customers, colleagues and friends with news about your industry.

“My tweets would only get me – and my company – in trouble.”

While we hear news stories almost daily about loose-lipped celebrities, athletes or politicians releasing confidential or controversial information through social media, there’s a way to take care of that. Use your head! You are 100% in control of what you broadcast to the world on social media. Social media posts should be released with the same scrutiny as you would an e-mail or any other form of communication that is permanent record.

“I really don’t have much to say, and besides, who will listen?”

If you’re a corporate leader, you should have lots to say. You’ve worked your way to where you are today by exhibiting high-level knowledge and thought leadership in some way, shape or form. You may not have shown it in writing, but you’ve shown it. Your thoughts and ideas have the ability to move business forward. By sharing them with others, you’re exhibiting superior expertise in your field of work, and you’re being recognized by others as an industry expert.

So who’s listening? Who isn’t listening. If you’ve done your up-front work to gain followers and connect with clients and colleagues, they’re listening. And after they listen, if they like what they heard, they’re sharing. The viral legs that your thought leadership can have on social media is tremendous!

“I’d prefer to keep my social network and my corporate network separate.”

That ship, my friend, has sailed. The days of 9 to 5 and ‘work/life balance’ have been replaced simply by ‘life’. Life is work. Work is life. News is everywhere, all the time and conversations with friends, family and colleagues are a mix of business and personal. We share with our families what’s happening at work, and we share with our colleagues what’s happening outside of the office.

While you may choose to have separate Facebook or Twitter accounts for business and personal, it shouldn’t mean that you keep all social media activities personal, and opt-out of using it for business.

“I fail to see the benefit of chirping about my life.”

For each individual, the benefits of communicating via social media are different. For corporate leaders, here are just a few.f

The first is relevancy. In order for you to remain relevant – with your customers, your employees and your colleagues – you must exhibit a mastery of how business is done today. To resist forward movement, technology or change is a sure-fire way to quickly become irrelevant…dare I say ‘old’. Yikes!

Next is exposure. For companies and individuals alike, corporate leaders have become brands in and of themselves. CEOs are often in front of cameras and featured in news articles. The public wants and needs to hear what they have to say. By exhibiting your keen industry and business knowledge through social media, you have the opportunity to build your personal brand. Not only does this help your company stay relevant in the eyes of customers and stockholders, it helps your own personal marketability. And you never know when or where your next big opportunity lies.

Connecting with customers on a deeper level is probably the most important benefit in engaging in social media for business. If you’ve ever watched ‘Undercover Boss’ you can see how corporate leaders easily become disconnected from their customers and employees. Ten hours a day in a corner office crunching numbers and planning the next big thing has a tendency to isolate you from the very things that make your business thrive. The use of social media marketing to connect with people, listen to their feedback and engage in dialogue on a regular basis should be of critical importance to you.

Ok. You’re convinced. You need to be there. Now what? A corporate leader’s dive into social media should be done methodically. You need a plan for getting there and for keeping it going. Depending on the size and scope of your organization, you should consider developing a social media plan with a social media consultant. You don’t do your company marketing and advertising without a plan, so why should social media be any different?

Kris McCurry, owner of Digidaze, provides marketing services to small business owners. With a special concentration in internet marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and sales support, Kris has helped clients in a wide range of industries achieve solid results through cohesive marketing strategies.

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