The Social CEO, Part 3: Lessons from the Presidential Election

CEOs are notorious for assigning staff members to duplicate successes that they hear about at events, on NPR in the car, during a snippet they half catch on Morning Joe while getting suited up for the day, or in a random mailing they receive from some organization with a budget that makes you look, well, a little more than short on resources. So why not turn their enthusiasm to your advantage? And what better example than the battle to be America’s CEO?

The presidential election just showed the positive and negative effects that social media has on a brand campaign. For today’s purposes let’s focus on the benefits so that you can gain some support as you try to keep your CEO motivated and enthusiastic about your online strategies.

Here are a few examples that you can drop into your social media conversations with your CEO as you try to move your strategy forward:

You Need Support
Since the 2008 presidential campaign, President Obama’s team has been in tune with the nation’s personal investment in social media. While “those who were there” tell stale stories of endless small donations to Obama’s campaign your CEO may need a reminder about the importance of your online voice to raise support.

The lesson: Use this example when you need to gain support for your next tactic. Sometimes the simplest ideas become the greatest successes however they need support from the top.

Respect Your Audience
President Obama’s team showed a tremendous amount of respect to their online supporters by posting news of his victory to his Twitter and Facebook accounts, among other online sites, prior to taking the stage in Chicago.

The lesson: Everyone is important and your CEO can and needs to speak to them all publicly on social media. To create a groundswell of support you need engaged supporters by the truckload as well as the large supporters.

Many attribute President Obama’s online success to his team having “perfected” their approach from the 2008 election while Romney needed to build his support from scratch. However both Romney and Obama invested heavily in their online presence.

The lesson: Just like any other department, you need a budget to take your strategy to the next level. Make sure your CEO understands the importance of Google adwords or updated smartphones to enable staff to better evangelize on your organization’s behalf.

Animate Your Brand
Video was a major player in this presidential race. Messages from the candidates, good and bad, public and private, controlled much of the conversation across the nation.

The lesson: Get your CEO in front of the camera to animate your brand. By speaking directly to your audience your CEO can garner support while showing his or her human side. Be aware though that this can be a double-edged sword if your boss is unable to connect with an audience.

Take Photos
Following the infamous Clint Eastwood empty chair monologue, President Obama’s campaign provided a simple photo of the back of the President’s chair as he sat in a cabinet meeting with the caption “This seat’s taken.” The photo went viral and remains an example of how to respond to criticism with strength and humor.

The lesson: In social media it can be said better with a photo. Use this and the previous example to secure funding for a quality camera as well as professional photography when needed.

Here are a few more tips to help you conquer social media with your boss:

The Social CEO, Part 1: 8 Tips for Taking Your Boss Public

The Social CEO, Part 2: 7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Taking Your Boss Public


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