By Nicki Escudero
Social Media and Content Strategist
Recently, British tampon and maxi pad retailer Bodyform made worldwide headlines for their brilliant YouTube video response to a just-as-priceless Facebook post bemoaning the misrepresentation of women’s periods. While maxi pad commercials may depict happiness and rainbows during that time of the month, Facebook user Richard called Bodyform out on their negligence in showing off the reality — which is often a lot of pain accompanied by moodiness.
Instead of shrugging off the post, the company created a viral video with a fake CEO directly responding to the post. While the video is hilarious and probably a response the Facebook poster approves of, imagine if the video had featured the actual CEO. Not only could the script and interspersed video clips be the exact same, but the brand would have showed off a more genuine, human side that didn’t involve an actor.
Regardless of the staged character, the Bodyform campaign contains a great lesson any small business can take away: utilizing your CEO in social media can bolster your brand’s credibility and add a more human side behind the logo. People don’t relate to, build relationships with or trust companies as well as they do other people. Having a public face to relate to the company makes it easier to like the company. Some large companies do that through a hired spokesperson (see Bodyform, Allstate’s commercials or Geico’s gecko), but it’s often the CEO who is best suited for this role.
In her new book, Renegades Write the Rules, social media expert Amy Jo Martin divulges countless tales involving celebrities who actually power their own social media accounts and don’t farm out their content to others. She presents some powerful examples of how Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), gained countless loyal fans from interacting directly with them, including actually taking phone calls to his personal line after accidentally Tweeting out his phone number.
“For the next forty-five minutes, his phone rang nonstop,” Martin writes. “He took as many calls as possible. Some callers wanted to see if he’d actually answer. To their delight, he did. Others had questions to ask or comments to make. To their amazement, Dana listened and replied. It was an audacious move for the president of a billion-dollar enterprise who, in the mind of many executives in his position, had more important matters to attend to. It also turned out to be a legendary move. Headlines were made, and engagement levels spiked.”
Just because your business isn’t a billion-dollar enterprise (yet) doesn’t mean your CEO can’t have a highly influential impact on your digital marketing efforts. First, because your CEO is probably the most visible employee of your company, your business’ social media strategist should do an audit of your CEO on all of their social networks. Help the CEO optimize their channels to positively represent your brand, and give them manageable goals of how often to be active on social media. Also, ask them to share company updates on their own pages, as long as they’re mixing them up with personal updates that also keep their followers engaged and are not simply pushing out marketing messages.
Your CEO may not be social media savvy, so provide him or her with tutorials on how to be effective on social media channels. LinkedIn and Twitter are great places for your CEO to get started, since they’ll be sharing messages with other professionals on LinkedIn, and Tweets are quick and simple. Tell them to support other important people in the industry by sharing their content, as well, to start forging those genuine connections.
When it comes to larger social media campaigns, you could have your CEO host a Twitter party or Google+ hangout, and filming a YouTube video of them yourself is a great idea. Let your CEO tell your customers whatever’s on her or his mind, and your consumers will feel more intimacy with your brand. Enlist your CEO to guest blog for your company blog, as well as other blogs, and bring them to networking events with you. You could even take a cue from White and have weekly CEO chats, where anyone who calls a certain number will be able to talk directly to your CEO. Don’t banish your CEO to a faceless desk your buyers have no idea who is behind – show them off on your social media channels, and increase your brand’s transparency.