by Amanda Mohar
June 3rd, 2013

What makes a social CEO “social”? Weber Shandwick studied exceptionally-active CEOs (those that participate in social media at least once a week) to develop a profile of the Highly Social CEO.

1. Highly Social CEOs use a more expansive set of social tools
Highly Social CEOs over-index on usage of every social media channel. These CEOs realise that sociability goes beyond dropping messages into a Twitter feed. World-class sociability requires a strategically-crafted plan for driving the company’s content across several channels.

2. Highly Social CEOs own a blog
Highly Social CEOs are not much more likely than overall CEOs to post to blogs (49% vs. 45%, respectively). However, among those who do blog, Highly Social CEOs are much more likely to have their own blogs (92% vs. 82%, respectively, among CEO blog posters). These CEOs see the value in long-form, original content and communications as a way of giving their perspectives context, meaning and depth.

3. Highly Social CEOs leverage the company website
Nearly every Highly Social CEO posts to his or her company’s website — 93%, according to executives surveyed. These leaders realise that the website remains “digital ground zero” for anyone seeking information about a company and its leadership and offers a platform for content to be delivered in multiple formats — video messages, photos, etc.

4. Highly Social CEOs self-author
Highly Social CEOs are much more likely than the average social CEO to write their own posts (63% vs. 45%, respectively). Highly Social CEOs are such frequent posters that they have probably determined that it is more efficient to do it themselves and are comfortable enough doing so. Weber Shandwick does not advocate using a ghostwriter as a substitute for the CEO’s own perspectives and words. However, under some circumstances, such as summarising a speech given by the CEO, it is acceptable. As one CEO in China said, he writes himself because he is the “soul of the company.”

5. Highly Social CEOs are forward-looking
Not all executives believe that their CEOs are thinking beyond the next quarter. Highly Social CEOs, however, are more likely to be perceived as forward-looking than the average social CEO (68% vs. 61%, respectively). These Highly Social CEOs may intuitively understand that technology and social media are the future of content distribution and they do not want to miss out on this communications revolution that has only just begun

6. Highly Social CEOs are spontaneous yet not too informal
Executives were asked to describe the tone of their CEOs’ communications style. The widest gaps between Highly Social CEOs and the average social CEO were for “spontaneous” (78% vs. 73%, respectively) and “formal” (70% vs. 64%). These socially adept CEOs are able to maintain the formality of their office but let stakeholders know that they can react quickly and seize opportunity.

7. Highly Social CEOs engage a wider variety of external stakeholders
Highly Social CEOs are much more likely than overall social CEOs to target external audiences with their social activities, especially their industry peers but others as well — investors, media and prospective employees. These CEOs see the value in sociability and use it to their companies’ advantages.

This was taken from the recently published study: ‘The Social CEO: Executives Tell All’

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