According to a survey by The CEO Institute, only 4% of Australian CEOs are aged 34 or younger. Most CEOs, therefore, are not “digital natives”, and many are reluctant leaders in social media for their business.
In today’s hyper-connected world, digital transformation should be integral to any CEO’s agenda, and must start with an assessment of the “where we are today” and a plan for the future. This typically highlights resource deficiencies and the need for gentle organisational restructure.
The key measurements to monitor success in implementation are that critical trio: customer retention, new customers and reputation. The timeline to do this properly is months, not weeks, and internal cultural shift is a key success factor.
The process takes knowledge and experience, and the unexpected twist is often the role of the CEO in this. For optimum success, CEOs need to play a lead role in this transformation. It really is a case of ‘walk the talk!’
There are seven key elements to consider:
1. Change my mindset. It’s not too hard. You can park your uncertainty at the door and acknowledge that, “If I want a modern, customer-intimate organisation, change starts at the top.” It’s a bitter-sweet pill to swallow, but leading by example ensures the best outcome.
2. Accept that the first step is the hardest. CEOs simply can’t tell others to do it. To lead, and for others to follow, you need to understand this new social media culture. It starts off as double-dutch, but slowly clarity emerges. Often it’s simply making a little time: reorganising the calendar to, say, spend 30 minutes on social media, early in the morning, two or three times a week.
3. Start with small steps. Don’t start with blogging, that’s hard work for the uninitiated. Instead, take a couple of months to learn how to use LinkedIn with a bit of coaching, and then by joining and interacting within a group. Or start posting on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or start making short, sharp video broadcasts. Do the fun bits!
4. Watch others. You won’t become a self-publicist like Richard Branson overnight, but if we watch politicians, we’ll see how they do it: most of the grunt work is done by ‘the team’, but the real value is the tweet or video from the Boss.
5. Interact with the social/digital team so you begin to understand how the multiple touch points work within the organisation.
6. Develop followers. Talk constantly about what you are doing with your executive team, so the more creative members can follow your lead. Develop a mantra; remember getting the message across involves clear, concise, consistent and constant communication.
7. Be patient but persistent. The change will feel slow. But if you’re now leading the social revolution, others will follow.
If you'd like to speak to a consultant about your social media or digital strategy, please contact us.