Executive branding is a new wave in marketing which yields direct results. As we know, social media has completely changed the online landscape. However, these platforms are not only an excellent way for people to stay in touch but for businesses to reach potential leads and customers. While most digital marketers recognize the importance of a strong social media presence, they limit their efforts to one-way posting of content on their corporate channels only. There are many other ways to make social media work for businesses. One of the best options is to involve executive team in building the brand. It’s beneficial to both executives’ personal branding and for corporate branding.
In this post, we will discuss how social media can be used for executive branding, and how this kind of outreach can make a difference in an overall digital marketing campaign.
What is Executive Branding?
Executive branding is a strategy whereby executives at a company focus on cultivating a personal brand that not only reflects themselves but the business as well. Another way of looking at it is that executives are representatives of their respective companies, so by creating a unique and trustworthy brand, they can influence the overall perception of the business at large.
As a general rule, an executive wants to be a prime example of the kind of culture present at a company. If the firm’s mission statement is all about family values, then having an executive that doesn’t illustrate or live those values could undermine the business’ message.
How Can Executive Branding Benefit You and Your Business?
All too often, there is a significant disconnect between customers and companies. While this happens for smaller enterprises, large corporations are seen as faceless entities that do not connect with their customers and audiences closely.
Executive branding is a way for these enterprises to put a human face on the business. Rather than merely communicating with a company page on social media, an executive can share insight that can help both customers and employees see the bigger picture. Overall, when a business utilizes executive branding effectively, it can create a more genuine following to the company as a whole. It provides some clarity and authenticity to a brand that would otherwise be seen as lifeless or distant. Simply put, it helps both prospects and employees get to know what the company is all about and why it matters.
These are some of the strong results by executive branding is done well.
When your audience interacts with a faceless company page, it’s hard to establish a unique connection. Conversely, when the community of industry analysts, customers and prospects, follow these executives, communicating on social helps build personal touch and a strong rapport, even if the conversation isn’t particularly personal. Executive branding helps a business more approachable, as well as provide some accountability. Having a direct line (so to speak) with the executive of the company helps customers feel like their voices matter.
Corporate news and communications are always shared on social media channels. However, reaching larger and more relevant audience are achieved when executive team that is running the brand support it by sharing on social. They are called social executives. Adding a personal insight to news or any content will have a huge impact on content reach and effectiveness.
Expand Brand Awareness
Executive having millions of social following is not very common though there are famous CEOs like Richard Branson who runs the Virgin empire. However, social networks for each one of us bring new audience to our content. Niche but very relevant audience can be reached through these executive social networks.
Overall, everything that an executive does can further the goals of the company and extend its reach beyond what’s capable through traditional digital marketing.
Thought leadership is quite critical in this era of social media. There are niche communities are born based on personal interests and goals. Becoming an influencer with thought leadership is the only way to reach such communities and influence them. One of the most effective ways to create that authority is to have an executive that becomes a thought leader.
Thought leadership drives confidence and trust in the brand. Thought leadership is achieved by providing true value to your audience and set vision for entire industry or the ecosystem you are in. This shows that the businesses have grown beyond building single focused products and selling to niche markets.
There are many ways to make it happen with limited time spent by executives. Create,
- Personalized social posts
- Short videos
- Clips from public speaking
Suggested Reading: 4 Steps to Develop Thought Leadership
Which Social Media Channels are the Best?
Executive is assumed to be effective only on LinkedIn since the audience are working professionals. It is critical to understand popular social channels and how they can help branding individuals before making assumptions.
Here are a few tips on how to utilize different social media channels effectively.
This platform is excellent for sharing all kinds of posts, from text to images to video. Executive branding here can also be a little playful, although it shouldn’t become too personal. Sharing company videos, photos that show culture and also featuring individuals like ‘Featured Executive’ type of content bring strong traction to content.
This platform is for professionals, so it should be regarded as such. All posts and interactions on LinkedIn should be treated as if you’re at a corporate mixer. Pleasant, approachable, but always professional. When management team or executives are not hands on or have no time to participate regularly on social media, communications team should help them. Sharing passwords with marketing teams are not advisable so, use a tool like MarketBeam to build multiple executive branding at the same time.
Instagram is a great social channel for sharing insights into both your personal life and how it influences your work. Because images are the primary currency on Instagram, make sure that your posts are visually appealing first, and informative second.
Twitter makes it easy for your thoughts to manifest themselves, and thankfully this platform is perfect for starting a dialogue. Utilize mentions and retweets as a way to connect to other users and have a conversation about various topics related to your industry. Twitter is also an excellent way to share articles and insights to your followers.
Dos and Don’ts of Executive Branding on Social Media
No matter what methods you decide to use, one thing that you always have to remember is that social media is public information. What you do on these channels can affect not only your reputation but that of the company as well. As an executive, you are the primary representative of the business, so your branding efforts should reflect that responsibility.
So, with that in mind, here are some ways to make sure that you don’t mess things up.
Do: Have a Clear Idea of What Your Brand Should Be
Before you start posting across different channels, be sure to outline the core values of your executive brand. What kind of thought leader do you want to be? What kind of reputation are you hoping to build? Just as the company has a clear, concise mission statement, you should
have the same.
Even better, share this directive with your followers. Illustrate what matters to you the most and make sure that everyone understands where you are and where you’re going.
Don’t: Get Too Personal
Branding for executives need a strong strategy behind it to support. Execution without a strategy or even posting on social media without a plan not only drives no results but could also be damaging. In this era of personalization and personal touch, audience can be reached with only with similar interests. Getting too personal with controversial topics yield no good for the company or the individual executive.
Do: Engage With Followers
One of the primary benefits of social media is that it allows anyone to approach you and start a dialogue. Depending on the popularity of your brand and your company, it may be impossible to connect with everyone who messages you, but you should make a concerted effort to engage as much as you can. Communicating with followers helps build trust and authenticity.
Don’t: Try to Be Trendy or “Hip”
We’ve all seen cringe-worthy instances of a company or an executive trying to capitalize on a trending topic, and usually, it ends in disaster. Before hopping onto any bandwagon, make sure that it’s “on brand,” and that it fits with the overall narrative you’ve been developing. If not, it’s probably best to steer clear.
Do Be Consistent With Posts
Being consistent with social postings are very crucial. With limited time on hand, one-tweet-a-day is hard to achieve. So, hiring an external agency or expert is an option. The best way to get help on branding is to make sure marketing and communications teams are on board with the strategy and operationalize the strategy on behalf of executives.
Large time gaps in digital branding is hard to recover. Branding efforts will lose momentum with lost time. So, be consistent with social media presence and communications.
Don’t Post Without Purpose
Creating a social calendar gives a vision of how strategies can be executed on a daily basis. The plan should follow the strategy for executive branding and also match with the overall company’s branding. A good rule to follow is that each post should be purposeful. For example, an upcoming company conference should be addressed in executive posts while the same information is covered in company posts as well. This makes communication consistent.
Learn how MarketBeam can build both company and executive brand on the same tool.