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7 Ways CEOs Should Engage on Social Media

How to use social media to promote your brand without risking your company's reputation

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It's important for businesses to stay engaged on their social media accounts so they can respond quickly to negative feedback and keep customers happy.


At my company, ConsumerAffairs, we have a team that monitors, engages with and posts content on our social media accounts manually. In addition, I personally manage my own social media accounts and stay actively engaged with my social media platforms.

Here are my rules for engaging on social media as a CEO.

1. Monitor social media using listening rooms

Social media has become such an important part of marketing that how to manage, interact with customers and build loyalty with social media sites is now part of the curriculum at schools like the University of Georgia.

CEOs must proactively invest, monitor and participate in the conversations that bubble up online in a meaningful way. One common way to do that is by setting up social media listening rooms and forums. For instance, larger companies like Coca-Cola maintain social media "war rooms" where they acknowledge complaints, fix them and recognize the customer who brought it to their attention. Management teams monitor all sites for negative reviews and comments that they can nip in the bud and respond to before reputational damage can set in and impact brand perception.

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2. Decide on a social media identity

There's a natural inclination to separate your business and personal accounts, but really, that just creates more work and takes away your credibility. I don't have a ConsumerAffairs CEO account. When I tweet or post, it's from my personal account.

If you're serious about being a CEO, then you need to be real about who you are on social media and what you tweet or post at all times. It doesn't help business or progress if you're switching between two social media accounts. Your public persona as a CEO should be authentic, which eliminates the need for separate business and personal accounts.

3. Consolidate all social media accounts onto one platform

Buy a platform that enables you to consolidate what's happening in all social media accounts. Although we use LinkedIn for recruiting and Facebook is a great platform for us to share our internally produced news content, we aggregate all social media accounts under one hood, which is managed by our marketing department. This helps us learn from the various platforms and monitor all the accounts.

We use a social listening platform to help track our mentions across social platforms as well as syndicated news placement. No matter what platform you choose, Google Alerts is also key in monitoring your mentions.

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4. Monitor your followers

Although I am a major consumer of content, I'm not a great sharer when it comes to my own unique content. I keep track of who is following and liking my accounts. After reviewing my followers and determining their purpose, I customize my posts and tweets with relevant news items.

Original site content comes from my staff, and that's all professionally written, but I retweet that comment and share my investors' tweets and posts.

Utilizing a tool such as Buffer allows you to curate news and content and schedule it in advance so your feed is always fresh -- even while you're sleeping. This keeps your audience engaged and helps fill in the blanks on days when you can't post as often as you would like.

5. Proactively protect your reputation

Customers want to do business with socially responsible companies and viral bad press can be very damaging. Companies and even individuals who are slandered on the internet have little or no recourse unless it's through identity theft insurance or reputational risk insurance.

Launched in 2010, reputation risk insurance reduces the risk of scandals and the spread of negative information about a brand in the news and on the web. While risk policies are costly, they cover major expenses associated with a scandal, including advertising, consultations with specialists and public relations advisers.

But, because it's more affordable to maintain a positive brand image on social media than it is to gain it back, we at ConsumerAffairs actively monitor social media sites to intercept problems before they go viral. This protects our reputation while keeping unexpected costs down.

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6. Create a thoughtful social media plan and follow it

There are so many social media channels, and they all serve a different purpose. That's why we use a social media plan to strategically determine which channels to use to either project an image, sell, participate, communicate, advertise, self-promote, recruit or simply provide value. Some of our posts are related to social justice and making the world a better place, but we also use social media as a mechanism for recruitment and selling. These are the implicit purposes of a business, and social media is a channel to achieve your company's purpose.

Your business's social media plan shouldn't be an afterthought. Really take the time to decide on your social media voice, platform and the type of ideas and information you want to share to engage with your audience. From there, an editorial calendar keeps your content relevant, consistent and true to your brand's voice.

7. Use Instagram to memorialize company events

Instagram is a good medium for memorializing company events. We use it to promote our company as a great place to work. I share proactively about why niche leaders would want to work with ConsumerAffairs. For example, I might upload a picture of my company and write, "This is what it looks like when you crush quarterly earnings," or I'll post a staff photo on Instagram where we are all engaged in a team-building exercise or attending a company-wide event. All of this showcases the unique culture and environment we have created.

Companies used to pay for advertising or publicity in the local newspaper, television and radio stations. Social media has changed that model by providing an outlet for CEOs to handle media and advertise internally. If used wisely and strategically, social media can raise your brand's visibility and profitability without risking your reputation.

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