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November 21, 2019

Jenni McDonough


Chief People Officer

two business people meeting to discuss social media for executive leadership

While strategic evaluation utilizing RFPs and risk reduction tools may still be at the forefront of the buying process for B2B tech decision-makers - one factor often overlooked is trust. More closely associated with an emotion-based buying decision in the business-to-consumer world, the B2B tech PR pros’ task of gaining a buyer’s trust might be the best thing you can do while everyone else is utilizing FUD content, risk aversion tools and ABM tactics. 

When making large B2B purchases, buyers want the comfort of knowing they are going with the best - their internal reputations and jobs are on the line, after all. With ~50% of your businesses’ credibility falling on your leadership team’s shoulders, clearly building trust starts at the top. 

Enter social media marketing - the medium that provides opportunities to instantaneously connect in authentic, two-way communication. Further, 2020 begins a new decade, one where Millenials will take the leadership reigns from the Boomers and X-ers and demand transparency and accountability (a.k.a key components of trust) from both their vendors and their employers. Simply put, as B2B marketers head into the New Year, they must be prepared and armed with an executive social media strategy. Need help getting started? Here’s a pro/con list to present to the C-suite this month so you can all be prepared to properly position your executives in January.

The Pros of Executives Joining Social Media in 2020

  • Showcase Thought Leadership: Remember, credibility is one reason B2B purchasers choose one vendor over another - so it’s time for your executives to position themselves as the industry experts. In fact, a recent survey showcased that 83% of executives that chose a vendor on behalf of their company in 2018 used social media in their decision-making process. 

  • Score Primetime Interviews: Having to churn out 6-10 stories a day on hard deadlines forces journalists to research quickly. Just like you, micro-blogs, LinkedIn and Twitter are often their best friends, with 60% of journalists reporting they use them in their research efforts. Why not make it extra easy for that Fortune reporter to quote your CIO in her next story? 

  • Humanize the CEO: Showcasing a little bit of a CEO’s personal side will make them feel more relatable to both potential buyers and employees - and relatability is often a large component of building trust. In addition, employees’ who know their executives have a social presence even report feeling like they work for a more “innovative” company.

The Cons of Executives NOT Joining Social Media in 2020 (See What I Did Here?)

  • Inability to Control the Narrative. Influencers, customers and employees will still chatter about your brand’s leadership whether the C-Suite is on social networks or not. Why not join in the convo? Not surprisingly, CEOs active on social media are 89% stronger than non-social media CEOs at empowering employees. Use this platform for good!

  • Prohibiting Open Dialogue: In the face of both scrutiny and positivity, executives should be able to respond directly, not hide behind a brand logo on Twitter. In fact, a study released by CNBC unveiled that CEOs who are active on social media are 52% stronger at compelling communication than their counterparts. 

  • Losing Out on Amazing Recruits - A recent study from LinkedIn revealed that companies with a socially active C-suite are 58% more likely to attract top talent.

There will be many difficult decisions made in 2020 -  a presidential election, ensuring economic stability and figuring out how to keep the hashtag alive ;). Let this be the easiest and best decision you make. 

Curious about what an executive visibility approach looks like in practice? This case study highlights how Alloy’s integrated approach elevated one client CEO’s brand equity just in time for a big funding announcement.