1. Increasing brand awareness. The names Richard Branson, Mark Cuban and Guy Kawasaki are instantly recognizable as leaders in the business—perhaps even more than the ventures they lead. Their online presence has been carefully honed in social media, blogs and other media. Their high levels of name recognition can be attributed in large part to the effort these thought leaders have put into building their public personas.
Though their online contributions don’t necessarily “promote” their businesses directly, their respective public images support the brand identities of the companies they lead. Ultimately, they act as the living, breathing example of their brand’s competitive traits.
For example, though Branson heads Virgin and its many different business units (which includes record stores, an airline and a financial-services division) his public persona is synonymous with innovation, creativity and risk-taking. In tandem, such traits have come to be a part of “Virgin” megabrand’s unique point of differentiation.
2. Improving the company culture. Because web and social media communication is based on two-way interaction, your web presence can inspire honest insight from consumers that can prove invaluable to your company’s processes, policies and strategic direction, along with cultivating a deeper sense of engagement and connectivity with employees, shareholders and other constituents.
In an IBM study of 1,700 CEOs across the globe, researchers concluded “companies that outperform their peers are 30% more likely to identify openness—often characterized by a greater use of social media—as a key influence on their organization.” Through two-way communications on the web and in social media, you can learn more about what your audience really thinks, experiences and values about your brand and make decisions about your company’s future accordingly.
3. It’s an opportunity to build trust. Twitter has more than 280 million users, and 100 million users check in with the social media tool daily. Yet, just one-in-five CEOs use a social media account, according to Hubspot. Those that do engage on social media have a unique opportunity to generate what even the priciest marketing campaign can’t guarantee—emotional relationships with customers. In fact, according to Forbes, an eMarketer report reveals that 77% of buyers are more likely to buy from a company if the CEO uses social media, while 82% trust the company more.
4. CEO blogs don’t require a significant time investment. The widely accepted axioms required to build a steady blog following, like posting daily, responding to reader comments and integrating and promoting blog posts with social media pages, aren’t a condition to developing a successful CEO blog—nor are the rules to what content readers want concrete. A study by SocialMediaToday shows that authenticity on the part of your CEO’s blog posts is more important than strategically crafting what to tell the audience. The study also revealed that CEO blogs tend to be dominated by white men, signaling an opportunity for female CEOs and CEOs with ethnic diversity to add their voices to the blogosphere.