The social CEO

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Published: 21/01/2013
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Many celebrities judge their success on the number of social media followers they attract. But it can be a risky approach – even a simple joke between friends can be taken the wrong way under the media spotlight.

So, forward-thinking CEOs face a predicament: how to use Twitter to engage customers and employees, without opening up the floodgates to misinterpretation and criticism.

The power of Twitter

At O2 we’re strong believers in being social. We have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Flickr, and our CEO, Ronan Dunne, has a Twitter account.

Twitter has become one of the most popular social networking sites because it’s so quick and easy. People can keep up to date with their favourite actors, musicians, brands and friends in concise 140 character posts – wherever they are, using their tablets or smartphones. And it can help build business relationships too, as a way to keep up to date with colleagues, customers, suppliers and other business contacts.

In the seven months from May–December 2012 alone, Twitter’s active users have risen from 140 million to 200 million worldwide1. But more interesting is that with 500 million registered users, over half prefer not to tweet1.

While posts can be quickly deleted, with such a big audience and only a click of a button to ‘retweet’, damage can be done within seconds of a post going up.

But with so many employees and customers on Twitter, CEOs shouldn’t ignore it as an engagement option.

Real people

Having a real person as the voice of a brand can reap rewards in customer trust and loyalty. So it’s important not to have scripted tweets, or worse, to have someone else tweet for the CEO. Simply retweeting other posts also becomes tedious for followers after a while.

It just takes a little common sense to find the right balance. Avoid tweeting about polarising topics, like religion or politics. And no competitor bashing or disparaging customers, either.

But if you found a great place in southern France on a family trip, recommend it. Or if a non-competitor’s marketing campaign was particularly brilliant, retweet it. And use Twitter as a platform to publically thank employees for their hard work, and to garner customer feedback.

Reasons to tweet

If you still need convincing, here are more practical reasons to tweet:

  • Engage and build relationships with employees and customers.
  • Set up searches to keep an eye on what’s important to you.
  • Share news and stories that are important to you.
  • Build relationships with suppliers and partners – and even the press, by congratulating them on a good article, for example.

Follow O2 Business on Twitter. And see what our own CEO tweets about.

Or visit our website on www.o2.co.uk/enterprise

 

1 http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/dec/18/twitter-users-pass-200-million

 

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