By Wendy Mantel, certified social media strategist and president, Mantel Coaching, Inc.
Ian Read, chairman of the board and CEO of Pfizer, has a personal LinkedIn page. However, his enviable status as a LinkedIn influencer, a label bestowed on an elite cadre of professionals, didn’t come about just because of his complete and searchable profile, but because he is an active participant.
For example, Read has published on LinkedIn’s PULSE nine times in the last 18 months. His career tips article alone has been read more than 47,000 times. The Pfizer CEO comes across as social media-savvy, articulate, sophisticated, personable, and reflective, and by extension, his polished image enhances the Pfizer corporate brand.
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF THE CONVERSATION
The most popular LinkedIn profiles in any company should be those of its C-level executives, since these are the people featured in press releases, company news, and the media. LinkedIn and other social media provide a wide-reaching, inexpensive forum for executives to manage their persona and enhance their companies’ images. Why then does biopharma, an industry desperate to enhance its public image, seem so sorely underrepresented in social media? At this writing, fewer than half of CEOs of the 10 biggest biopharmaceutical companies have LinkedIn profiles.
A 2014 BRANDfog global survey of CEOs using social media shows that not participating in social media is a big strategic risk. Conversations on social media channels don’t stop just because top managers aren’t looking. When an executive fails to speak up, other voices fill the void, empowering those much-less-qualified and vested to shape a company‘s brand and influence its reputation.
POWER OF THE BRAND AMPLIFIED
According to the same BRANDfog survey, three trends will shape modern business communications:
- SOCIAL CEOS WILL MAKE BETTER LEADERS.
- SOCIAL CEO ENGAGEMENT LEADS TO BRAND TRUST.
- SOCIAL MEDIA IS MODERN PR.
Here’s how to turn social media to strategic advantage at your company.
8 STEPS TO ESTABLISHING A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Digital marketing expert Mark Schaefer suggests these steps to build corporate and leadership social media presence:
- Identify social media objectives and strategies.
- Assess the company culture — it needs to support social media’s value to the organization.
- Establish a social media lead team to build a plan and the necessary infrastructure to support implementation. This may require representation from IT, HR, the legal department, top management, and others.
- Publish a company social media policy stating in black-and-white what employees are and are not allowed to post online about the company, its leaders, its products, research, stock, and so forth, and actions taken on policy violation.
- Identify sources of content (e.g., blogs, podcast, videos).
- Define your audience and where you can find them.
- Determine how to measure success, and demonstrate progress towards goals and ROI or to make course corrections.
- Choose the right social media platforms.
Solid planning will set you on the right course to become a social media influencer — as a leader and as your company’s top management. It’s up to you to become part of the conversation.