It’s not for everybody. For many CEOs and others in leadership or influential positions, getting them to participate (if not lead) via the social Web may be an ongoing, uphill battle.
But I’m talking with more and more CEOs that truly want to give it a go, to engage with their customers and other key constituents more actively via social channels, to accelerate their own thought leadership and personal brands via more frequent writing.
For those CEOs – the ones who should be more active and have a propensity to do it – here are six tips to get them motivated and moving.
1. Make it easy to get started
Break down the start-up process into small, bite-sized steps. Sit down and walk them through the basics if necessary, or point them towards guides that take just a few minutes per step. Then give them a deadline to get it done. Especially if they want to get it done anyway, they might need it made easier plus a little accountability (deadlines) to make it happen.
2. Leverage peer pressure
If the CEO should be more active, it’s likely their leadership team thinks they should be too. Get others to reinforce the value and priority of getting started. Find the other members of the leadership and management team who are already doing it, and showcase some of the results they’ve already achieved for themselves and the business in general.
3. Translate the ROI
Point out the specific business value of being active, not just overall but specifically based on the business priorities the CEO has already focused on this year. Demonstrate clear lines between activity, performance and business results. Show examples of how this has worked for other CEOs and other companies already.
4. Point out their peers
Pick a handful of CEOs in the same industry who are already active on Twitter or regularly blogging. Show the impact it’s having on their brand, their visibility, their perception of leadership. This sometimes is motivation enough.
5. Do a 30-minute idea brainstorm
For blogging specifically, sit the CEO down with a whiteboard and walk her through a brainstorm of possible topics. What does she have to share, unique to her position or perspective? What will customers want to hear from her? I can almost guarantee you’ll fill the whiteboard in less than the allotted time, and having specific topics will make the CEO more motivated to convert ideas into content.
6. Hire a ghost writer
Even if the CEO is a good writer, don’t require her to sit down and draft herself. Hire a ghost writer to listen to the CEO pace in her office and talk, then translate that perspective into a solid first draft. Over time, she may want to do more of her own writing. But to get started, and see the early results, make it easier and faster.