Social media is a powerful tool to increase brand awareness and to lead conversations in your industry. The executive voice – the voice of your chairperson or CEO – can be a powerful component of your strategy. But, as JP Morgan experienced last week, there are some pitfalls to be wary of.

Most of us have had that phone call or conversation. Others may be dreading it. The day when your CEO asks, “How come I don’t have a Twitter account or how come ‘so and so’ has 10,000 more followers than me?” What follows are some tips to help you effectively set up your executive voice strategy to enhance your social media strategy, not overwhelm or undermine it.

The hard work, the research and persona definition should be done first as we outlined in the previous blog on creating your social media strategy. Not only for the brand but also for your CEO.

Using the same steps as you did with your brand, you will need to define the persona in consultation with the CEO and their staff. Is your CEO “bold” – leading the conversation and being a bit controversial? Are they “pro-active” and curating research, news and developments from across the industry? Determine what the goals are, what you intend to achieve and how it will support brand awareness and visibility. Match these goals to audience perceptions to ensure there is no disconnect.

With the goals and intent established, the online persona should be an honest reflection of the individual and where the individual is comfortable going. For example, if you set up a Twitter account for your CEO that is “bold”, whereas by nature she or he is “cautious”, it will have a dissonance that your audience will pick up on that will lead to a lack of trust. It sounds simple, but in the rush of conversation that is social media, the persona can get lost in the rush to stay in the game.

In these early development stages, determine and set a policy on who will have access to and who will manage the account. Ensure that this is outlined in the appendix of your strategy.

Think as logistically as possible as this choice can impact the account’s overall effectiveness. Is your CEO comfortable and available to run their account and keep track of the conversation? If not, then a member of your staff may need to be trained to do it and work closely with the CEO to accurately reflect their thoughts.

Quick Tips:

Directly involve your CEO in the development of their social media persona to support your brand’s social media goals.

The persona should reflect the true nature of your CEO – stay where they are comfortable, especially at the beginning.

Determine and set a policy for who will manage the account. It may be joint ownership until the CEO is comfortable and able to manage the account him/herself.

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