Currently we can find quite a number of middle, senior and top managers online, LinkedIn being the key platform for them to be present. Statistics show that 54% of Fortune 500 CEOs have social media presence and 50% of them can be found on LinkedIn (Influential Executive, 2019). Some of them just sign up; others have up to date information about themselves.
However, only a small percentage create content from their personal accounts and even smaller fraction of them could be considered as examples of good practice.
Why are managers still reluctant to use social media (and LinkedIn especially) for building their personal brands?
There might be a number of reasons for that. Some managers have not yet discovered the value of communicating from their personal accounts; others do not have ideas, time, and skills or do simply hesitate to start. Some are in need of advice and support within organization, others are avoiding conceivable negative comments from the audience.
I believe that skills can be obtained, time can be made, ideas can be inspired, but the most important part is to understand the value and importance of building personal brands on social media that later translate to bottom line results.
Here are some of the key reasons why every manager should care about building his or her personal brand online and dedicate effort for communication from personal accounts.
Personal communication on social media can be a great tool to increase brand or company awareness. Is your company or brand already well known? Communication on social media may increase the awareness of new advertising campaign, new product introduction to the market or may be simply helpful when sharing information about organization (which otherwise may not be immediately seen by current and potential customers).
Strengthening brand image.
If you do not need to worry about increasing awareness of your brand or company, personal communication on social media may be helpful in achieving organizational objectives in terms of strengthening its brand image. Personal communication tends to be a lot more sincere and honest compared to rather official and “cold” corporate content. When communicating from personal account it becomes a lot easier to reveal emotions, communicate about values and go for resonance, in other words, build a closer connection with the consumer.
Personal connection on social media can be created not only with a prospective consumer, but also with a potential employee. A manager who communicates openly, is able to engage the audience and reveals interesting details about organization’s culture might become a magnet that attracts candidates to open positions in the organization.
Leading by example.
Are you a manager willing to engage your team and colleagues to communicate on social media? It’s a lot easier if one prays what he preaches (? ☺)
Keynotes at conferences and events.
Building a personal brand on social media includes more than communicating about your brand or company. People are interested in other people. This is an unwritten rule and an explanation why influencer marketing is so trendy nowadays. If a manager actively communicates on social media, he may not only contribute to the organizational goals, but will also strengthen his personal brand as a leader or expert. Invitations to speak at conferences and events as well as share insights in the media is oftentimes a confirmation that efforts in building a personal brand pay off.
This proof might be especially relevant for managers of smaller or less known companies given that the media tend to notice leaders of big companies.
If you are a manager and you’ve already decided that it’s worth to start building your personal brand on social media, here is some advice to help you to achieve better results:
Understanding your target audience and your own positioning. Imagine, you are the CEO of company X or the manager of it’s Y department. If you’ like to start sharing content and spread the message, you should first understand what your target audience is and how you want to position yourself in their minds. There might be several target segments, for example, your current customers, potential clients and potential employees. It is important to understand how your content will create value for different segments.
Authenticity. Managers are busy people and it is totally normal that their communication on social media might be taken care of by folks in marketing and communications department, assistants or external specialists. However, even then it is crucial to remember the importance of authenticity. The manager and the person in charge of communication should talk often, discuss details and nuances that might arise along the way. We often see non-personal, monotonic, cold and boring managers’ content, which is the consequence of low engagement between the two.
Quantity vs. Quality. It is often the case that one starts to communicate on social media, they might be caught by ardour to broadcast on every single occasion. However, as in many other contexts, quality should win over quantity. The most important part isn’t the amount of content created, but the value it creates for the target audience.
At first it may seem that building a personal brand on social media takes a lot of time and effort. However, as time goes by and competence develops, it becomes a lot easier as people start understanding what kind of information is valued by the target audience and what kind of content engages it. A strong manager’s personal brand on social media is not a short-term project, but consistency and long-term efforts can undoubtedly benefit the organization.