Why C-Suite executives need to shine on social media

Matt Kapko

Social Media and CIOs

Like it or not, your behavior on social media says a lot about who you are and what you value in your personal and professional lives. Striking the right balance between being savvy and career-minded on social media is more important than ever before.

While the initial wave of engagement on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter was dominated by early adopters and technology enthusiasts, there is a pressing need now for C-suite executives to enter the fray.

High-level executives have much to gain from their activity on these sites, but experts tell CIO.com that they should follow some general tactics and practices to achieve those goals and elevate their careers in the process.

"Social media is here to stay and it's getting more dominant all the time in the sense of how our global community is informing itself of everything from invasions in Crimea to new products," says Colin Moor, a partner at career consulting firm Essex Partners. "You can't ignore this, you have to start to embrace it."

Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Social Media
In his experience working with senior executives on career transitions, Moor says he has seen a wide divergence between seasoned clients who have worked with marketers and others to craft a solid strategy and those who don't even have a LinkedIn profile.

"There's still a surprising amount of hesitancy to get on board," he says, adding that his most cautious recommendation for those who have that inhibition is to start with LinkedIn. "Most of your discomfort about the things you worry about will be ameliorated pretty fast," Moor says.

"Today an individual's LinkedIn profile is equal in importance to the traditional resume," says Moor. "You're going to be marketing yourself on a 24/7 basis if you're there. No resume can be that effective for you."

While there are "real tangible benefits of having a presence" on sites like LinkedIn, Moor says the initial phase can be so overwhelming that it "scares most senior executives into paralysis." There is a full range of comfort levels with social media, but the ice breaker usually comes for latecomers once they see how many of their peers are already deeply involved across these various networks, Moor says.

A Direct Line to the Big Dogs
On LinkedIn, a senior-level executive has the opportunity to connect and communicate directly with top leaders at major organizations in their field. Moor calls those moments a "real eye opener," particularly for those who come to him with no knowledge of social whatsoever. "About 80 percent of our success stories have some networking dynamic attached to them," he says.

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