Does Active Social Media Engagement Start with the CEO?

CEO Active Social Media Engagement

Michael Dell with DellCap Customers

Last week I shared with you a series of CEO quotes that came from the most recent CEO Connection Boot Camp in New York City.  At these day-long events, CEOs of companies with more than $100 million in revenues gather to discuss their most pressing challenges, and to share experiences and advice.

From these discussions I was able to share with you 19 revealing CEO leadership quotes and 10 insightful CEO social media quotes that provide a peek into the world of today’s CEO, and some insight into what’s currently on their minds.

I noticed there were a few quotes in each blog post that were consistently resonating with people, and I realized there was a reason for this…:

Leadership Quotes:

  • “When we wrote a mission statement at the corporate level the words didn’t resonate with our employees. So we asked the employees to rewrite it in a way that made sense for all of us.”
  • “We created a new brand promise and our sales force resisted it.  I asked them to take ownership and rewrite it, and was actually very touched by what they wrote.”
  • “How many of your employees woke up this morning with the express intention of doing a crappy job? Probably very few.  But if they feel left out, or have a fear of failure or uncertainty, they are less able to succeed.”
  • “I want people to say they work with me and not for me.”

Social Media Quotes:

  • “I recently started tweeting and my employees love it; they can’t get enough of it.  I tweet about the meetings I’m in and general observations, which seems basic, but they better understand what I do.”
  • “Our employees’ wives love our Facebook page and are our most active group on it.  They’re our advocates.”
  • “I recently started blogging and every time I meet with employees they implore me not to stop.  They really love it.”
  • “We advise our employees that when they’re using social media they should use social grace – and we trust them to do so.”

Have you already guessed what these quotes have in common? They come from the very same, small group of CEOs.

These CEOs understand engagement at its deepest level; it springs from a genuine feeling of trust and a sense of responsibility.  They are actively interested in engaging their employees and their quotes show that they trust them and want them to succeed.  This interest and trust naturally translate into a willingness to actively engage them via social media.

And these are the CEOs that are encouraging their teams to embrace active social media engagement with their customers.

The CEO Becomes the Rock Star

I was genuinely encouraged to discover this among these CEOs and it reminded me of the premise Mack Collier has been advocating; think like rock stars do by embracing your fans.  As Mack says, “note what Rockstars do;  They focus on the people that already love them… this group has a strong degree of loyalty for the rockstar.  So much so, that they will go out and actively recruit people from the OTHER groups to the left to come join them.  And yes, we have stats to back that up as well.”

Now, let’s put CEOs in the Rock Stars shoes. CEOs that actively engage with their employees in the way rock stars do with their fans will reap the same benefits: they’ll cultivate loyal employee evangelists who will be trusted to tell the company’s story in social media and who will ultimately “recruit” customers to join them in their love for the company and its products.

But it all starts with a natural leadership proclivity to engage, to trust, and to want others to succeed that comes from the top.

That’s my theory, at least. What do you think?

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3 Things CEOs Should Never Lose Sight of in Social Media

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Photo of Michael Dell at DellCap with customers by Mack Collier. (Michael Dell was not at the CEO Connection event I reference in this post.)