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Why You Should Convince Your Association’s CEO to Join Social Media

Why You Should Convince Your Association’s CEO to Join Social Media

If your association’s leader is still resisting social media, they’re unfortunately not alone. But as associations evolve and attempt to attract younger membership, the results of a recent survey should assist in convincing your CEO to join social media channels and engage your membership.

The survey, The Signal CEO Index, was undertaken by Ryerson University’s Infoscape research lab and is based on the list of Canada’s Top Highest Paid CEOs, which appears annually in Canada Business magazine.

The survey found that 53 per cent of the country’s top CEOs are on at least one social media platform, with the majority stickhandling through the safer confines of LinkedIn. Only 16 per cent are using more than one channel.

Social Media: A Must-Have Business Asset

“Almost half of the top Canadian CEOs have no presence whatsoever on social media,” says SLC Principal Bob Pickard. “When you consider the digital disruption their companies are confronting nowadays, that’s a shocking statistic. But it also underlines a galvanizing PR opportunity for the country’s chief executives to become ‘social CEOs.’ Communication capability in general – and digital presence in particular – are becoming must-have business assets for leaders, and our study shows that CEOs are really only just getting started on social.”

Despite the many benefits, such as listening to your members, connecting with your audience, developing relationships with and touting the work of your volunteers and enhancing the overall reputation of your association, fear remains a major factor. Misuse, blunders and bad examples, such as the bloviating of Donald Trump abound daily; however a desire to remain positive and take examples from great leaders in the business world can go a long way to keeping your CEO out of trouble.

Not surprisingly the bar to entry is quite low. According to the report:

  • While 45 per cent of CEOs surveyed have a LinkedIn account, only 50 per cent have a profile picture, and only 33 per cent have a biography. (By far the stand-out platform of business professionals, a complete LinkedIn profile makes the user 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through the platform.)
  • Only seven per cent of Canadian CEOs in the top 100 have Twitter accounts. Aside from Blackberry CEO John Chen, the remaining six CEOs averaged just 316 followers. On average, CEOs followed just 65 users – showing a high level of disengagement with the outside world.
  • Seventeen per cent of CEOs studied have Facebook accounts. Nine of those accounts were publicly viewable, with 78 per cent of posts being personal in nature and only two per cent promoting their business. 

CEOs were sharing several different types of content on social media, including thought leadership, philanthropy, mentorship and governance – a great game plan to play it safe and still promote your cause a positive light. 

It’s time for association and business leaders to swim with the tide. Social networking time is on a steady rise, with the average user increasing their use from 96 minutes in 2012 to 118 minutes in 2016. It’s no longer breaking news that Millennials have far more interest in YouTube than television, so it’s time to engage this audience in order to stay relevant.

“There are obvious risks in CEOs using social media,” says Ryerson Professor Greg Elmer. “A novice and unprepared CEO risks offending communities by contravening online practices and conventions, or may simply post unedited comments by accident. That said, there is another less tangible – yet equally important – risk for the CEO: silence. In other words, by not engaging with social media, CEOs run the risk of being perceived as aloof, out of touch, or uncaring by their own employees, customers, or the public at large.”



Want to Learn More about Association Leadership?

Leadership experts, Glenn Tecker and Leigh Wintz, CAE, both of Tecker International, LLC have created a powerful, updated program to help CEO’s and their Board Chairs achieve a clear understanding of their unique roles and responsibilities as well as their shared objectives. When you and your current or incoming Chair attend the CEO Symposium, you will gain a common understanding and commitment to the key components of successful governance, strategy, and organization. For more information about Leigh or Glenn, visit www.tecker.com.

Both are facilitating the 2017 CSAE Symposium for Chief Staff and Chief Elected Officers first session on February 27 and 28, 2017 at the Hilton Mississauga Meadowvale in Mississauga, ON. The second session is on March 2 and 3, 2017 at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown Hotel Burnaby, BC. Early bird registration is available until Jan 15, 2017. They have co-authored this blog to illustrate the importance of forging a solid, strategic partnership to enhance organizational success.






social media, branding, CEOs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Millennials, Networking, Public Relations, Social Media


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