It’s one of the fastest growing trends in B2B social media. But what exactly is Exec Comms?
During the Covid pandemic, many business leaders have finally understood the importance of having a strong and credible social media presence. Without face-to-face events and office working, many have struggled to stay visible. Others have realised that, in order to influence how their company is perceived in the market, they need to be part of the conversation, and that a lack of involvement on social media could be hampering their leadership and limiting their impact on company growth.
Executive Communications, or Exec Comms for short, means planning and managing the communications delivered by senior team members within a business. This might include their social media platforms, speaking engagements, or press correspondence – really, any time that the individual is representing the business as a whole.
Social Media Exec Comms is still quite a new practice, and it is not done professionally by most companies yet. Because it is so new, there is no set definition for what exactly falls under Social Media Exec Comms, but to us it means:
- Creating a strong social presence – i.e. up-to-date and engaging LinkedIn / Twitter profiles
- Publishing regular content – finding something relevant and interesting to say on emerging topics
- Having an opinion – providing insight and value (not just amplifying company posts)
- Building a strong network – connecting with and engaging with peers, influencers and experts
- Delivering business value – i.e. measurable impact on the brand
What are the benefits of Exec Comms?
For many B2B companies, referrals and recommendations remain the #1 source of new business. Therefore, highly connected and credible business leaders represent a huge opportunity: 57% of B2B decision-makers say thought leadership has directly led to awarding business.
Building up Senior Executives’ presence on social media increases their personal reach and prestige, but it also has benefits for the company’s social media:
- Create more high quality, credible content
- Gives the company access to their personal reach and networks
- Increases brand awareness, leads etc.
How can an agency support your Exec Comms?
OST works with several global brands, providing social media Exec Comms for their CEO’s and senior executives. Each contract is different, but as a rule there are usually five elements to the service:
- Strategy: The first step is to outline the objectives, approach, and KPI’s for the executive’s social media presence. This will vary for each organisation, and it’s important to make sure the strategy is agreed on by everyone involved.
- Planning: Once we have agreed what we want to achieve, the next step is to work out how we’ll do it. A good starting point is to get the executive’s social media platforms properly set up, branded and optimised. Next, we map the exec’s network. Using a range of tools and deskwork, we identify the movers and shakers within their network and include these in our target lists. We then create a personal “playbook”, where we agree on the tone of voice, topics of focus, and the type of content that will need creating or sharing.
- Social Content: Each fortnight we create a bespoke social content calendar, based on the executive’s calendar and interests, and, including personalised content about the company. We have found that high-value video or personally-created content drives the most engagement, so we encourage this wherever it is possible. It’s also important to react to what is going within the company and the wider industry, so we will often add in reactive content or ad-hoc posts to the content calendar.
- Consultancy: Once we have got the ball rolling and started posting content, we make sure to meet with the executive on a regular basis to review their presence and progress. The more involvement they are willing to provide, the better the results will be.
- Reporting: The last, but most crucial, step is to measure and evaluate what has been done. We create KPI reports, which cover the number of posts, reach, engagement, clicks, and other measures that were agreed during the strategy phase.
Each of these services can work when used in isolation, but are most effective when combined into a holistic communication strategy.
What kind of content should executives create?
Any format of post is fine, as long as it’s meaningful and engaging, but selfie videos, especially on LinkedIn, offer a great way to showcase expertise and attract engagement. Topics to talk about might include:
- Posing a question – Speaking directly to their contacts and peers, pose a question, inviting them to share their views in comments. Then the exec offers their thoughts on it (see example from Tim Williams, CEO of Onalytica).
- A point of view – Providing their perspective on a topical issue within your industry. Invite contacts/peers to contribute, asking “am I right?”
- Snapshot review – Provide a short analysis of some recent data, or a report. Explain the salient points, and what it means for their audience.
- Event taster – If they are going to be speaking in a podcast, webinar or conference, post a preview of what they’ll be talking about. Mentioning the event host and other speakers in the video and the caption is always a good idea, as that will encourage them to engage with the post.
Want to know more about how OST can manage your Executive Communications? Get in touch.