10 Twitter Tips For The Social CEO in 2014

By: Lori Gama Sunday October 26, 2014 1 comments

Are you a successful CEO who’s perplexed about Twitter but still thinking about using Tweets to connect with your customers and maybe employees, too?

Bravo! By using Twitter in a strategic way, you'll increase your revenue.

You're in the minority, therefore, have less competition, and after reading this article today, you'll be even more ahead of those other CEOs who don't "do email" and would never consider social media as a strategy for increasing revenue, let alone even touch Twitter.

The fact that you're considering Twitter or another social media, proves that you are an innovative thinker. No wonder you're so successful!

Two years ago, I wrote a similar article for CEOs and Twitter, over on this business blog and at that time, only 3.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs had joined Twitter, as of 2012.

Since then, a more recent study by DOMO and CEO.com (2013) found out that 8.3% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have joined Twitter. Good growth in the number since 2012 but are these CEOs any more skilled at using Twitter now? Nope. In fact, only 1% of F500 CEOs Tweet on a regular basis.

That's why I decided to update my 10 Twitter Tips for the Social CEO.

These five key points below (from DOMO's article about its study) illustrate how confused CEOs are, not only about Twitter but about social media in general:

• A whopping 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence at all.

• Of those who do, 2/3 of them engage on only one platform.

• 74% of CEOs only participate in a single network.

• 42 F500 CEOs currently have Twitter accounts. 69% of them are active, having posted within the last 100 days.

• Ready to be shocked? More top CEOs are now on Instagram than Google+.
-According to Executive Brief - Report: 2014 Social CEO Report | DOMO

If world leaders such as President Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron,President Dilma Rousseff and President Vladimir Putin are on Twitter, using it to strategically communicate messages to the world, then why aren't more F500 CEOs doing it?

My Three Reasons Why The Number of Fortune 500 CEOs Doing Social Media Are Low:

  1. Many of these F500 CEOs are over 55 years old, didn't grow up with technology and are much slower to adapt to the way we communicate now. I'm willing to guess that some of them don't even use email.

  2. Another reason, in my opinion, is that only 12 percent of F500 CEOs are women. Many, many studies have proven that more women than men use social media. When more women become Fortune 500 CEOs, the data will, of course, change.

  3. I think CEOs just haven't been properly trained. That's why I wrote this article for you, dear CEO, so you can at be more savvy about Tweeting.

Have no fear: after you read my tips, which were written specifically for the Social CEO, you’ll soon have your “A-ha!” moment with Twitter and understand its power and pleasure.

My tips are excellent for any business owner, manager, director.

Start thinking of Twitter as one of the “vehicles” of your marketing. And, just like it took time to learn how to drive a car for the first time, give yourself some time to learn how to “drive” Twitter and soon you’ll be getting to where you want to go.Where is that? More revenue, of course! This comes with greater brand awareness and fans falling in love with your brand, one Tweet at a time.

Top 10 Twitter Tips for the Social CEO

Tip #1: Always remember that you represent your company and that everyone is watching you – your customers, potential customers, employees, your competitors and news reporters. Therefore, you must… (See Tip #2).

Tip #2: Always be honest, kind and thoughtful with your Tweets while, at the same time, allowing tasteful (keyword: “tasteful”) glimpses of your life and personality to shine through (see Tips #8 and 9). Don't bail yet: keep reading.

Tip #3: Meet with your marketing director and communications director before you start Tweeting to get their advice for your Social CEO Twitter strategy. Be prepared to answer these questions: Why do you want to Tweet? Is it to build brand awareness? (If it IS to raise brand awareness then you’ve got to be sure to do it in such a way that you’re not broadcasting like a commercial – that’s the fastest way to fail). Is your goal to increase revenue? Is it to improve employee retention? Your employees - at least the SMARTEST ONES -- will be hanging on every one of your Tweets. Wouldn't you, if you were them?

It could very well be all of the above, plus other reasons. Bottom-line: have a strategy that’s been vetted by your public relations people, whom, I’m assuming, have already been trained by a professional social media marketing expert who has achieved outstanding revenue-generating results for herself and others. Ahem.

Tip #4: Don’t forget to read your own company’s Social Media Policy before you Tweet your first Tweet. If you don’t have one in place, get that policy written and approved by everyone you decide should approve it. Your Social Media Policy definitely has to be approved by your legal department. The sooner you get it written, the sooner you can start Tweeting. Also, having a Social Media Crisis Planwritten down is good insurance, just in case you or someone else on your Tweeting team should make a mistake. Usually, simply being transparent and quickly apologetic is good enough to repair damages in most Social Media Crisis cases but you should be prepared for the worst case scenarios, with specific actions, just in case, to minimize damage control. I don't mean to scare you: just to prepare you.

Tip #5: Now that all of your t’s have been crossed and i’s have been dotted: write your first five Tweets in a Word document and get them approved by your public relations team before you post them in Twitter. Even the CEO has to have training wheels on for the first few Tweets. After that, you’ll know how to “drive the car” and can take it out for a cruise without any supervision (though, I do recommend that your public relations team subscribe to your Twitter account to receive your Tweets to their mobile phones so they’re always aware of what you’re sharing in Twitter. And yes: anyone can subscribe to your Tweets to receive them like text messages to their phone – including those curious news media folks. That’s why you should always follow Tips #1 and #2). After your first batch of Tweets has been approved, you can now begin by Tweeting your first Tweet. Warning: Don’t send all five Tweets at once because you would be spamming the Twitter feed and appear to be quite amateurish.

Tip #6: Automation saves time: If you want to automate Tweets, you could use a scheduling tool like Buffer, Hootsuite, and TweetDeck but automating can make you look like you're only BROADCASTING your thoughts, rather than being open to conversations. Pre-scheduling all your Tweets does NOT mean putting Twitter on cruise control. You should still be paying attention to your Twitter account (or delegate this important responsibility to a trusted assistant) so you can respond to people in a timely manner, at least within eight hours of their Tweet but the sooner you respond, the better. Want to make a really good impression on people and thus, raise the positive feelings about your brand? Use the Twitter app on your phone and get notified whenever someone Tweets to you, mentions your Twitter name, or favorites your Tweet. "Favoring" your Tweet is somewhat equivalent to a "Like" in Facebook: it indicates that person has seen your Tweet. It could also mean they are bookmarking it to reference it later.

Another word of caution about automation: Anytime you rely on technology be ready with a back-up plan if things go awry — as in, the same Tweet gets sent out two times in a row, for instance. If that were to happen, your followers would know you’re using a scheduling tool and your authenticity and integrity would come into question. That’s why I don’t recommend this for CEOs.

Tip #7: Remember your manners: Be sure you respond to anyone who Tweets to you within 1 minute-24 hours. Yes, I said: one minute. When someone specifically mentions your name (which becomes a live link to your Twitter profile) you should respond. After all, building a community involves leadership skills such as listening to your community and talking with them. You do this with your employees, right? I could go on and on about proper social media etiquette but I’ll end this tip with this last item: Be sure to thank people who share your Tweets with their own followers (that’s called Re-Tweeting or an RT) or otherwise they might stop doing this. The people who do it a lot are your Brand Evangelistas. They should at least be thanked in a Tweet from the CEO for raving about your company to their followers. Trust me: as a frequent Brand Evangelista myself, a little bit of thanks from the brand (especially from the CEO) goes a long way towards keeping me raving about the brand. I'm one of "those people" who has a Klout score in the upper 60's. That means I have Influence. There are others like me. This eventually impacts your revenue.

Tip #8: Share tasteful (keyword: tasteful) glimpses of your life in the office. If you feel comfortable sharing a little of your personal life, do so sparingly and always have the safety and security of your loved ones in mind. A good rule to follow: if you wouldn’t share it with a huge audience of strangers that you’re speaking to at a conference, then don’t share it online.

Tip #9: Review your favorite CEOs who have been Tweeting for a while and see what their style of Tweeting is. You may pick up some great ideas and you might see what NOT to Tweet about, too. To find them: go to Google and type in the word “Twitter” and your CEO’s name, plus the acronym “CEO”, like this: Twitter Jane Smith, CEO. If your favorite CEO is on Twitter, s/he should show up in the search results if she has “CEO” in her Twitter biography or if she or he is a famous CEO on Twitter. You could use Twitter’s search box, too, as they have improved their search functionality.

Here’s a tiny sampling of CEOs on Twitter:

Bob Fish, Biggby Coffee: https://twitter.com/BiggbyBob

Richard Branson, Virgin: https://twitter.com/richardbranson

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo: https://twitter.com/marissamayer

Charlene Li, Altimeter Group: https://twitter.com/charleneli

Tip #10: My final tip is for you to do some research on the ROI of Twitter. Think about these two mind-blowing ROI case studies and then let me know if you think Twitter is worth investing your time:

1. Coffee Groundz, which has $25 million annual revenues, started using Twitter as a direct order channel with customers, which resulted in a 20%-30% increase in sales and marketshare via Twitter.

2. Jimmy Choo ($32 million annual revenues) used Twitter to geo-locate upscale stores featuring its shoes. The result? A 33% increase in sneaker sales, a 40% increase in positive Tweets and mentions about the brand. -Fromhttp://www.dazeinfo.com/2014/09/18/brands-measure-social-media-roi-effectively/

If your company is not yet engaging with its community via Twitter or another social media, please present this article to your team at the next meeting or else your revenue will continue to drop.

Lori Gama specializes in SEO; Social Media Marketing Campaigns, Online Marketing and Web Design for corporations, celebrities, authors, professional athletes, business owners and non-profit organizations. Follow Lori Gama in Twitter; ; Google+ and many other places around the Internet. Read her blog at LoriGama.com. Call Lori Gama to schedule a consultation: 970-378-7822.

Lori Gama

About the Author: Lori Gama

Lori Gama is The Online Visibility Expert and founder of DaGama Web Studio, a Digital Marketing firm she started in 1995. She works with B-2-B to create visibility, credibility and profitability by leveraging web design,content strategy, social media, SEO and other digital marketing. She is a Digital Marketing pioneer and once again is innovating by becoming one of the first in Colorado to use Drones to capture another dimension of the stories her clients are sharing. Contact Lori for your next project if you want outstanding results: 970-378-7822.

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Another well-written, helpful post Lori. Great work!

- Sean Alden Fitzgerald