The 2024 Guide to Social Media Strategy for Executives

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Whether you’re B2B or B2C, your customers want to engage with humans on social media. 56% of customers want more relatable, personable content from brands on social, but 48% of brands are still posting self-promotional content multiple times a week.

How can you — a CEO, CFO, CMO, or other executive — tip the scale in your favor? Easy: be active on social media.

You don’t necessarily need to film Instagram Reels or write long-form articles for LinkedIn. You also don’t need to be active on every social media platform, or have the most original thought leadership content.

Just be yourself and devote about 5-10 minutes a day, and you’ll be growing your executive social media presence in no time. Here’s exactly how to do it.

Why should execs be on social media?

Build a (human) personal brand

Being on social media benefits your company and also has big perks for you. As mentioned above, your customers want more personal content from businesses.

That doesn’t mean they want to know about your recent doctor’s appointment or your everyday morning routine. It means they want stuff that’s human-first, real, funny, engaging, heartfelt… Content that conveys emotions.

Talk about a hard lesson you learned as a leader. Talk about a personal hardship you’ve learned from that people can relate to. Or, share your genuine excitement about a new product or feature your company is launching and geek out alongside your customers.

Sharing = caring. As in, enabling others to care about you and your company because they see you as a real person leading other real people instead of a faceless mega-corporation.

Jason Hawkins Reusables.com brand partnership LinkedIn post

Source: Jason Hawkins on LinkedIn

Advocate for your business

All your regular marketing still has its place, but committing to thought leadership content — meaning, you posting your insights on social media as an executive — can add quite a boost to your company’s strategy.

61% of your customers say thought leadership content is “a lot more” effective at showcasing your company’s value than traditional marketing. And 55% of decision makers say content from thought leaders is especially important to win them over during economically bleak times (e.g. right now).

55% of decision makers say that during an economic downturn it is essential for suppliers to product high quality thought leadership

Source: Edelman

Share your expertise

You know a thing or two about some things, right? Sharing your knowledge is a powerful way to develop your personal network while also demonstrating the experience that’s behind your company or product.

It can be as simple as showing what you’re working on. If you used to be a developer, share the new features your team is currently working on and what the roadmap is.

Have a long management journey of starting on the front lines and working yourself up to head of HR? Share your best tips for employees to get the great performance reviews they want or land their dream job.

Whatever your area of expertise is, share it.

Boost your sentiment

Your brand sentiment is basically a “temperature check” of what people are saying about you online and what they think of you — or your company.

By putting yourself out there and creating human-centered content around your expertise, you’ll provide a massive boost to that sentiment.

But how do you know if your content is enhancing what people think about your company? By measuring your brand sentiment automagically with Hootsuite Insights, for example.

Track mentions, identify opportunities, and encourage brand loyalty by responding to comments and getting involved in conversations. You’ll know where you and your company stand with your audience, 24/7/365.

Insights Brandwatch dashboard

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Build relationships

Is it lonely at the top? Not for execs on social media.

Being active on social media can help build all sorts of relationships for you, from attracting top talent to hire, networking with industry peers, and even fostering deeper relationships with your employees and team.

People get to know more about you as both a person and a leader when they watch or read your content.

Promote your values

When your content focuses on the things mentioned above, like building a human brand and building relationships, it will naturally reflect your values.

It’s not about shouting your values from the rooftops like, “Hey! We care about people so much! Look, we offer five sick days per year!”

It’s about quietly communicating them through everything you share. Talk about your or your company’s charitable activities or share some relatable industry-specific humor. Your values can also shine through the stories you choose to share, like that story about how you overcame the anxiety of starting a new role or making a tough management decision.

Support recruiting

One of the most tangible benefits of posting on social media as an executive is how well it works to support recruiting efforts. Whether you have open roles to fill now or not, your public profile as a company leader helps job seekers understand your company’s culture and determine if it’s a good fit for them.

Besides boosting your brand sentiment and giving people a “behind the scenes” peek into your company culture, posting also gets your company more eyeballs. Content from employees gets twice as many clicks as official company content. And, people judge content posted by an employee as three times more authentic than if it would’ve been posted on the company’s social media profile.

This said, you can and should create a company-wide employee advocacy program that goes beyond just you and the other executives posting on social media. Research shows companies with formal employee advocacy programs are 58% more likely to attract top employees, and 20% more likely to retain them.

This is how Hootsuite Amplify makes setting up and managing an employee advocacy program easy:

Show transparency

It’s hard to build trust, both personally and professionally. But it’s the most important thing you can do to earn new business and loyal customers.

Edelman has been tracking trust statistics for 23 years, and 2023’s report reflects an ever-increasing distrust of society in general, government, and especially a lack of trust in social media.

Interestingly, 48% of respondents say CEOs, in general, are untrustworthy, but 64% say their CEO is trustworthy — more so than their neighbors!

Edelman graph percentage of institutional leaders distrusted by industry

Source: Edelman Trust Barometer Report

What’s with the cognitive dissonance there? My theory is the difference connection makes.

When we feel connected to someone — colleagues, even, or in a parasocial relationship facilitated by social media — we tend to have a more favorable opinion of them. Simply: we trust them more.

By using social media as an executive, you’re building trust through transparency with your team and encouraging leads, customers, and peers to trust you too.

How to build a social media strategy for executives

Set goals

You don’t need to list out a multi-page social media strategy document complete with quarterly KPIs, rigid topics, or a defined schedule of daily actions.

But you should at least have an outline of a strategy. What do you want to get out of posting on social media?

A few goal ideas are:

  • Grow your network with industry peers
  • Increase talent recruitment and fill open positions
  • Encourage your employees to share online and build their personal social media brands, too
  • Create a company culture of content development

Of course, there are many more possible goals. Yours may change as you start sharing online and discover new benefits to doing so, but have at least one or two goals to start.

Pick the right networks

Where will you post as an executive on social media? The obvious choice is LinkedIn — the world’s largest professional social network — and you should definitely be on there. For some executives, it may be the only social platform you need.

But don’t overlook other great options. Reddit could be a great place for you to host AMAs: “Ask Me Anything” threads popular on the platform.

Reddit Ask Me Anything CEO and CTO of Proton

Source: r/IAMA on Reddit

Depending on your desired audience and goals, you could even build a successful online presence on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube. Really, any platform as long as you know who you’re trying to reach and then choose the platform(s) those people regularly use.

As for how to reach them, that’s the next step…

Define your content strategy

Once you know where you’ll be posting, you need to decide what to post about and who’s going to post it.

The “what” depends on the platforms you identified in the previous step. For example, if you picked TikTok or YouTube, obviously, that means creating video content.

For LinkedIn, it’s likely most of your content will be text posts or the new way to do LinkedIn carousels.

A well-rounded content strategy is about more than just what format you’ll use.

It includes things like:

  • SMART goals
  • What content your audience enjoys and wants more of
  • An audit of your current social performance and profiles
  • Your posting frequency
  • Topics you’ll focus on
  • How you’ll measure success

If you need help crafting yours, check out our step-by-step guide to social media content strategy.

Finally, you need a game plan for publishing content. Are you going to write/record/edit/create all your own content and post it yourself? Or, will you enlist your marketing team for help in either producing the content, scheduling it, and/or replying to comments? Be clear on who’s doing what before you start.

Plan and schedule your posts

This one’s easy: Use Hootsuite. Done, next…

Okay, for real, you’ve heard it everywhere, but it’s true: a big part of succeeding on social media is staying consistent. That means posting roughly the same amount of times per week and replying to DMs and comments at least every other day.

You can always change your posting frequency to be more or less, depending what your audience is responding (or not responding) to. But you need to stay consistent with your chosen schedule until you decide to strategically change it, for good, data-informed reasons.

The easiest way to build a consistent posting schedule with the least time commitment is to use a social media post scheduler like Hootsuite. Plan and draft your content in a visual calendar and schedule posts to go live at your personalized best time to publish based on your audience data.

It’s auto-magical.

Best Time to Publish - LinkedIn Heatmap

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Answer comments and DMs

It’s no surprise that social media is all about engagement. One of the fastest ways to grow your follower count is by commenting on other people’s posts. But the way to build true community is by replying to comments and DMs that others leave on your posts.

Even if it’s only a quick “thank you,” taking a few seconds to acknowledge someone’s comment helps build that sense of community and form real connections on social media.

Set aside a few minutes a day to do these responses, or even every other day. You’ll boost your engagement rate which the algorithms love, and you could meet some amazing new people.

Hootsuite Inbox makes this super easy by organizing all your comments and DMs across all your social media accounts in one place where you can reply to everyone.

Hootsuite Inbox Replying to a Comment

Listen for mentions

Yes, you need to reply to comments and messages on your profiles, but you should also respond in the other places people are talking about you, like on their own pages or profiles.

But how do you find those mentions in the first place? Don’t worry, this is another thing technology can take off your plate. (Or ears.)

Social listening tools can track these mentions across the internet and alert you to mentions and conversations about topics you’re interested in so you can take part in them. This will save you so much time and allow you to use it in the most useful way: actually engaging with people.

Psst: Of course, Hootsuite’s got your back with built-in social listening features and deep integrations with third-party tools.

Track your success

You already know in business you need to track your results in order to see what’s working, what’s not, and when you may need to tweak your plans. The same applies to social media.

Set up a spreadsheet with each of your KPIs to measure the goals you outlined in your content strategy. Fill it out at least monthly in addition to running a quarterly social media audit.

Don’t want to spend hours each month gathering all your performance data, though? Understandable. Once again, Hootsuite is here to make your social media life easy with all-in-one analytics for all your platforms in one place.

6 inspiring CEOs on social media

Still need a bit more inspiration to get started? Peek in on what your peers are posting, or check out these executives making a splash on social media.

Irina Novoselsky

Irina Novoselsky CEO of Hootsuite LinkedIn social media manager post

Source: Irina Novoselsky on LinkedIn

Irina, CEO of Hootsuite, is understandably very active on social media and a huge champion of all Owls (Hootsuite employees), sharing their expertise online through the company’s employee advocacy program powered by Hootsuite Amplify.

Irina talks about leadership and the power of social media (obviously!), and shares personal insights about what makes Hootsuite great, both as a company and a product. She’s also known to advocate for social marketers, seeking to elevate their status among other CEOs and executives.

What you can learn from them:

  • Be genuine. Irina’s passion for teamwork and the power of social relationships shines through in every post she shares. Lesson for you? Share your authentic business beliefs.
  • Include a ‘footer’ in your posts. At the end of each post, Irina includes a section introducing herself. It tells potential new connections what to expect if they follow her, making it more likely that people who really vibe with that content will.
Irina Chief Owl at Hootsuite LinkedIn post footer with introduction

Source: Irina Novoselsky on LinkedIn

Christopher Young

Christopher Young Executive Vice President at Microsoft AI in Asia LinkedIn post

Source: Christopher Young on LinkedIn

Christopher is an Executive Vice President at Microsoft who speaks widely on topics surrounding how AI is impacting work today and how it will continue to change how we work in the future.

What you can learn from them:

  • Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Nowadays, everyone has an opinion on AI, but Christopher believes AI is a positive tool for the good of the future and backs it up with his content. Whatever you believe about something, back up your opinion with case studies and data to add credibility to your words.

Alexis Ohanian Sr.

Alexis Ohanian Sr. The Grand World work life balance article

Source: Alexis Ohanian Sr. on LinkedIn

Best known as a former co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian now speaks publicly about work-life balance, making workplaces more family-friendly, and venture capital.

What you can learn from them:

  • Repurpose content intelligently. Just like Alexis does, you can cross-post content, like sharing a TikTok video on LinkedIn — but take the time to customize the caption with a personal note directed to the kind of people who follow you on LinkedIn.

Adam Mosseri

Adam Mosseri new photo editing filters on Instagram

Source: Adam Mosseri on Instagram

As the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri has an almost cult following among social media professionals. He’s like our creator of creators, the Meta meta-creator, if you will.

Adam talks about all the latest changes on Instagram, social media in general, and what’s new with Threads.

What you can learn from them:

  • Don’t be afraid to be the face of your brand. Every time Adam Mosseri posts a new video, social media managers everywhere buy an emotional support iced coffee. Okay, no, but he’s known as the source to go to for the latest Instagram algorithm updates.
  • Show up how you do best. Adam mostly communicates key info via Reels. If you’re comfortable speaking to a camera, use video. If you prefer writing, put your value into captions.

Aaron Levie

Aaron Levie X post The Box file system design and product architecture

Source: Aaron Levie on X

Aaron is the CEO of Box, the popular cloud storage company. He talks about Box, but also about startup culture, lessons learned, and leadership tips.

What you can learn from them:

  • Speak your mind if you can take the heat. Aaron often shares his opinions on everything from software development to AI. Whenever you share a potentially controversial topic, some people are bound to agree and others disagree. If you can handle not being universally liked, don’t shy away from taking a stand.

Oprah

Oprah's favorite things the color purple Instagram post

Source: Oprah on Instagram

Oprah needs no introduction. On social media, she shares snippets of her life, her latest book club picks, news about her latest productions and projects, and of course, her famous “Oprah’s Favorite Things” recommendations.

What you can learn from them:

  • Be yourself. Oprah has been famous forever at this point, but she’s always remained true to her personality and values — and that shines through in how she interacts with others and what she chooses to share.
  • Use your profile to lift up others. You may not have 22 million followers like Oprah, but when you can, use your profile to feature others you believe in. Oprah regularly features aspiring performers, authors, and advocates she admires.

Ready to uplevel your career, expand your network and opportunities, and automate your social media success? Hire Hootsuite as your executive social assistant to easily plan, schedule, analyze, and amplify your content across all your social profiles in one easy-to-use dashboard.

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