CEOs’ Fear of Twitter – Why This Platform Can Be Friend Not Foe

Posted by on September 26th, 2012

Today’s Wall Street Journal ran a piece titled “140 Characters of Risk: Some CEOs Fear Twitter,” which I found particularly interesting.

The article notes that “While many companies have taken to Twitter, their executives avoid it for fear of making public missteps. Still, some are attempting to navigate the world of social media with aplomb.”

While talking to this real-time social media platform doesn’t leave much room for error and can be unnerving, it is an invaluable way for CEOs to reach out to their employees, investors and other parties who are interested in their business.

Outreach via social media platforms – such as Twitter and Facebook – add a personal touch from the CEO and demonstrates a level of humanity.  Communications from them via these channels add color to what’s going on in their business in a more conversational, informal way. Use of Twitter doesn’t have to be solely for defensive purposes when a company faces difficult issues or finds itself under attack.  It should be used as a tool to promote good news which otherwise might get lost in dense communications material.

Some executives may be worried about the time commitment Tweeting can take (since it should be used as part of an overall communications strategy rather than for “one-offs”).  But it’s important to note that these posts don’t actually have to be written by the CEO.  They can be penned by his or her communications team – do you really think President Obama is tweeting himself?  Although I do not have my own personal handle, I work closely with our social media team to provide insights and make sure my thoughts and views are represented on our handle @KCSAStrategic.

Tell us: do you like when CEOs tweet?  Does it make you more confident that they are doing their jobs, or do you think their focus should be elsewhere?

To read the full Wall Street Journal article, click here.