The Three Social Media Steps for CEOs

Things can get very complicated whenever the idea of social media is brought up.  What tools?  What content?  Does anyone care?


This is especially important for CEOs, as they are the ones that lead the image and culture of an organization. As a CEO, whatever you decide to do in social media can affect all that and more.

So rather than overcomplicating things with 15 or even five key points, I feel it makes the most sense to look at three simple steps that CEOs can base their social media strategies upon.

STEP 1: The goal

Yes, it seems obvious, but many CEOs jump into social media because they feel compelled to by inside (marketing) or outside (other CEOs, their kids) forces. If that’s you, stop right now.

Relax, take a step back, and really figure out what you are trying to accomplish with social media.  Some examples of your goals could include:

  • Customer retention and engagement
  • Vision and leadership
  • Your own career development and personal branding
  • Speaking engagements
  • Lower employee turnover
  • Lead generation
  • Investor relations

Measurement is impossible if you don’t have a clear understanding of your social media goals. In that case, the focus will surely be on the tools, and not the story (content marketing) that you are trying to affect people with.

STEP 2: What is your content mission?

First off, no one particularly cares about you.  Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s true.  If you want to accomplish your social media goals, you need to put the focus on your reader.

Think of it this way – if you were a trade magazine, what would you talk about?  How would you solve the pain points of your readers? What kinds of articles would you develop to solve those pain points?

In order to truly become the expert in your industry and leverage all those fancy social media tools, you have to do two things:

  1. Find your niche.  When I say niche, I mean that very specific area of which you can be the expert in the world.  For example, let’s say you are a CEO for a marketing software company.  Well, marketing software is way too broad; there are already many marketing software experts, so becoming the expert in an area that large is simply impossible.  Maybe marketing automation then?  Well, that’s still way too broad.  What about marketing automation for oil services companies? BINGO.  You get the idea; be specific.
  2. Have a point of view.  If your social media is going to make an impact with people, spread your story and accomplish your goals. You need to have a point of view;  education and information alone isn’t enough.  You have to chart new ground, be controversial and possibly a little edgy to truly be the expert in your niche.

Figure out these two points and you’ll have the beginnings of a content mission.

STEP 3: Develop consistent, relevant and valuable content in your niche

The key to any social media program’s success is content marketing – the consistent development of story-driven content that ultimately works to accomplish your objective.

Since you’ve already thought about your target’s pain points and the type of content you need to engage them with, you can now start to think about the channels and tools to use.  For example, you may decide that a blog would be a great tool to serve as the center of your content generation plan. This could be your magnet — your home base for your Facebook posts, tweets and videos.

Besides the blog, the other channels you might consider include:

  • A book. Frankly, a book is a key milestone for any thought leader, and that goes for you too.  The book can ultimately be drawn from your blog content.  Once you begin your blog, start thinking about each blog post as being a chapter of your book.  That’s what I did and it worked out pretty well.
  • Video: If you are good onscreen, a regular video series may be in order.  Take a look at Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV as an interesting example of what can be accomplished. In essence, it’s a blog based on video instead of text.
  • Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook – Broadcast your content on Twitter, converse about it in LinkedIn groups (choose the right ones) and share your expertise on your Facebook page. Be human and authentic.  Focus on your expert niche.  Respond when necessary. Pass around other interesting content.

This is all easier said than done, but at the same time more possible than ever before because anyone — including you — is capable of developing content that will impact your prospects and customers.  Remember: Goal + Content Mission + Consistent Expert Content + Time = Success.

Joe Pulizzi is Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, which includes the international content marketing event Content Marketing World, Chief Content Officer magazine, Junta42 vendor finding service and blogging service Socialtract.  Joe can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @juntajoe.

Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi, author, speaker and evangelist, is a content marketing expert dedicated to helping companies grow profits by creating better content. One of the founders of the content marketing movement, Joe launched what is now the Content Marketing Institute back in 2007 as a true online resource for those interested in content marketing and brand storytelling. Joe started using the term "content marketing" back in 2001.
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