Why CEOs Fail at Online Marketing

Generally speaking, CEOs are more involved with long-term goal-setting, “big picture” plans, and maintaining the momentum of a company than marketing. Yes, small co. CEOs might have more responsibility and may even help capture teams reel in big clients. But whatever they do, executives are busy and may not have the time to A) Learn on-the-ground marketing or B) Make personal branding worthwhile.

Can I let you in on a secret? Time invested in top-level marketing pays back dividends with minimal effort.

Here’s why:

  • A company leader puts a face behind the brand.
  • Strong marketing reduces the exposure of bad press.
  • A CEO’s name/brand can increase consumer awareness of a company.
  • It allows executives to network, be authoritative online, and stay involved.
  • The benefits of CEO marketing trickle down to the rest of the company

There are three basic strategies for boosting CEO marketing and avoiding common flops (i.e. not using a CEO for branding, letting the Web define your company, giving up on new sales opportunities). Executives don’t even need to be heavily involved with online marketing, just enough so other in-house experts can take care of it for them.

Online Networking

The first CEO-Internet-branding tactic is to tap into social media, something most of us are doing already. LinkedIn is the obvious choice, of course, and one of the best places to grow external networks.

CEOs should also have their Facebook accounts professionalized and given admin power over a company’s page. This allows executives to post directly to a brand’s fans through their own voice. The same goes for Twitter, though there are a few rules for doing this properly.

  1. CEOs shouldn’t use these platforms to post personal statuses like they do to friends.
  2. CEOs should use FB/Twitter/LinkedIn to give a personal spin to company news, products, and services.
  3. If unsure on how to post or Tweet effectively, send an in-house marketer a draft and have them schedule it.
  4. Pictures say a 1,000 words, meaning images only need a few sentences to go with them.

The trick to CEO social media is striking a balance between personal and professional content. Once that’s taken care of, a CEO becomes much more noticeable on the Internet and gives the everyday person a better chance of finding websites, press releases, and other marketing material.

Another rule of thumb for social CEOs is to respond and interact with comments and fans. Just think: The hesitant customer gets a like or response from an executive. This personal touch is much more powerful and convincing than any other online marketing strategy.

Aligned Branding

One of the most damaging “side-effects” of CEO marketing is when there is a disjoint between an executive’s and business’ message. Contradictions cause hesitation and can lead to a number of marketing problems.

To counter campaign collisions, executives need to take advantage of in-house marketing teams. Branding experts and campaign strategists have goals parallel to an executive — to sell more.

Sending out a Tweet, writing a quick blog, or even forcing a quote into a press release can set back a CEO’s authority and a brand’s marketing. There needs to be checks in place to A) Keep executives aligned with branding, B) Reinforce quality content, and C) Ensure that executives are using online marketing as effectively as possible.

Nothing’s worse than an executive announcing a new project and misspelling or ignorantly misleading followers and fans.

Top-Level Messaging

Being communicated to by a top-level exec makes consumers feel empowered, in most cases. This can lead to new sales, third-party spreading of the good word (i.e. marketing), and loyal clients and partners.

One of the most effective ways to brand a CEO is through blogging. Executives without marketing experience, not to mention those out of the online loop, might look at blogging as a nothing tactic. That’s a terrible assumption to make.

A blog chronicles a CEO’s messages, acts as a sounding board, and is accessible by anyone. There are a few ways to go about CEO blogging, whether or not the executive is actually doing it.

  • Enforce quality (grammar, spelling, format, etc.) at all times.
  • Keep blog posts consistent to encourage frequent readers.
  • Talk about industry-wide topics rather than constant self-promoting.

Finding topics isn’t easy, either, though an active CEO blog can become a hub of activity for a company’s marketing. If you’re a marketer or a CEO with at least a semi-talented writer/marketer, here’s what you should do:

Write Drafts: Any time a thought pops up or some industry article catches your attention, write up a quick draft of a post (200-400 words works wonders) and email it out to the marketing department.

Request Content: Have an uncooperative executive? Take a notepad into the top corner office, start talking, and report on what the CEO says. Written correctly, it’s understandable to ghostwrite a business leader’s ideas and post them.

It doesn’t take much time to sit down with an online marketer, share some ideas, and turn words into Tweets, Facebook posts, and blog content.

About the Author

Brennan Girdler is an associate writer and editor for Chic Marketing by Grammar Chic, Inc. The Charlotte-based company specializes in managing social media marketing and developing content for clients.

Guest Blogger

This post is courtesy of a guest post from a contributor to CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of niche blogs for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners. For more information on contributing a guest post read here:

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