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Business leaders, and their teams, face a challenge in where to focus their digital influencing efforts—balancing the choice of topics to influence customers on without negative setbacks from their own or customers’ communications departments. Here are five fields that you as an executive, can pursue to increase your digital influence over the next 18 months.
The executive balancing act
As an Executive active on social media, you face a balancing act. You must comply with all corporate communication guidelines and avoid disclosing sensitive customer information not yet in the public domain.
But to build and nurture an audience, you need to bring exciting topics to the table. You formulate your points by curating from your own company, from third parties, or by original insights and reflections.
Industry developments you have insights about
Topics in high demand from customers and partners are your perspectives on how your industry is developing. Which questions are high on everybody’s agenda? What are the strategic choices players face? Here your opportunity to stand out and add value comes from adding granularity and details around crucial insights.
Such as clear articulations of the choices your customers face. You can enhance insights by adding data points to common wisdom pearls to clarify their importance. Elaborate on timings around inflection points. There is considerable potential to unlock with publicly available facts and your perspectives on how/why they matter. Questions of what nature is usually straightforward, but why/how/when require more hard work.
Articulation of business opportunities for your customer
Your sales opportunities focus either on your customers’ revenue or cost side. Articulating new revenue opportunities for your customers is demanding but rewarding. An art where the key is to frame the business opportunities that trigger immediate reactions and actions.
Since the influencing takes place in the digital domain, you need to be careful with the tone of voice. There is a fine line between going over the edge in challenging your customers. But an element of challenge needs to be there to trigger actions.
A point of view standing out from competition
Your digital influence will immediately be visible to the competition. And if you are a leader, you can expect swift reactions from your competitors where the bragging rights for leading, being best, etc., is a level playing field where it is hard to win.
Instead, look for arenas where it is hard to copy you. If you are first to market, describe what made you first. If you are best, articulate the thoughts that made you best and if you are the premium provider, present where you invest to remain on top. And if you are a challenger, pitch how you have leapfrogged. Your most significant opportunity for differentiation lies in why/how rather than what-related statements.
Nuggets from exciting customer meetings
The first question you always get from customers is what you do with other customers. Your leading customers want to know they remain on top. Customers with a fast follower strategy want to secure they time their moves right and leverage insights from key leaders.
Make it a priority to look for nuggets that help you and your company to drive the industry forward—an art where minor differences and succinct contributions are valuable. And work closely with your investor relations team for business intelligence and an excellent source for insights on topics with immediate impact.
Avoid discussing solutions a customer is pursuing, which should be under wrap until your customer is ready to go public. Instead, focus on anonymized questions relevant to a broader customer segment.
Proud announcements of execution progress in own team
Lastly, your social channels are great for announcing your team’s progress. You boost employee morale when you recognize their work in public, in ways they can share or just read and feel proud about their company.
Make sure your posts in this area are authentic. It is easy to come across as a megaphone for corporate messages. But invest a bit more time in wording the statements to secure they come across as coming from you. Then they matter the most.
Good questions for you and your team
- Which industry insights should I focus on next quarter – pick a few and refine points to stand out.
- Which new revenue opportunities do we want to unlock – where do you complement promotions made in paid digital channels?
- How/why was a recent success different – an excellent start for differentiated stories.
- Which customer-related nuggets can you leverage – as a basis for micro-narratives?
- What does your team have in the pipeline – most great stories come from the goals you are pursuing.
Additional reading suggestions
For further insights into this area, consider the following sources:
- How to build an executive social media strategy that works [BLOGPOST] – by Josh Krakauer
- Why executives need to be on social media: approaches for business leaders [ARTICLE] – by Glenn Gaudet
- Your employees want you to post on social media [ARTICLE] – by Joe Constantz
- Social media strategies for C-suite and senior management that actually work [BLOGPOST] – by Dhariana Lozano
- Why executive positioning on social media is a 2022 communications imperative [BLOGPOST] – by Lianna Foye
- A guide to social media for executives [BLOGPOST] – by Tim Denning