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3 tips for startup CEOs who want to step up their game on social media

Attracting strong tech talent is hard, especially if you are leading an early-stage company. Companies that spend time building their reputation through employer branding have an advantage, but with limited resources, they need to get creative. If you are a start-up CEO, it may be time to pitch in by stepping up your game on social media.

It may not seem obvious at first, but CEO’s can play a very important role in developing the company’s employer brand on social media. They are the figureheads behind the messaging, and their personal brand is linked to the trajectory of the company.

Jumping into the murky waters of hashtags, livestreams, and memes can be daunting for CEO’s who don’t typically manage social media accounts.

Here are three tips to get you dipping your toes in the water.

Get some help from the marketing team

CEO’s may not think twice about posting because social media tasks are usually delegated to communications and marketing specialists.

When individuals are looking to join a start-up, they are judging the vision, talent, and experience of the company’s leader.

Your marketing team can help you kickstart the process, by providing you with advice and suggestions.

They are the ones with the experience and detailed content calendars. They can incorporate you into their list of tactics.

With the help of your team, you can launch your personal social media account that is in connection with your company.

Keeping an active line of communication between you and your marketing is important.

They can hold you accountable by ensuring that you are consistently posting and working towards your social media goal. They will also be able to provide you with content ideas that are tailored to your network.

By becoming more familiar with the roles and responsibilities of your marketing team, you will be able to gain a better understanding of your employer brand because you will become more in sync network. 

Be authentic

The challenge for a business leader in creating an online presence begins with finding balance in how you present your personal and your professional life.

We follow people on social media for a multitude of reasons. We follow our friends and family to share life’s moments, celebrities for entertainment, and influencers for information. We don’t follow leaders and certainly not CEO’s, for the same reasons. We also don’t have the same expectations for them.

If you want people to invest themselves in your company, they need to invest in you.

Talent follow leaders because they want to be inspired and they want to learn. They want to know why they should become involved with your company.

Get them excited about what you are excited about.

Understanding what is appropriate to post and what is not, is crucial.

Let’s say that last weekend you went to your cottage and you brought a group of your closest friends with you. Everyone has one too many, and you start taking fun selfies with the group.

Now while you may think it is a good idea to post one of the selfies, think again. Yes, it may make you look like the “cool” boss to your employees, but it may create a bad image.

Before you post something ask yourself two questions.

Is this post consistent with my personal and company values?

Would I be comfortable showing this to my board at our next meeting?

People follow you because they believe in you and your company. If a post does not coincide with your company’s values, or it is seemingly unprofessional, don’t post it.

Post with purpose and plan your content but be authentic. This is your chance to show your followers and your network your company’s morals, through the activities you have captured.

With all that being said, don’t turn into the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. There are ways to create engaging content without reverting to a robot-like state.

Employees like to see the personal side of their leaders. It humanizes future experiences with them, making communication more accessible.

Find a balance between personal and professional.

Consider posting a picture of your family on a holiday instead to show your employees and followers what you are up to.

As the leader of your company, it is important to set an example for your network. Showing your employees that it is okay to share a bit of your personal life, may encourage them to engage more in employer branding.

Lead by example and know your limits. While it is important to stand up for what is right, especially in our current political climate, avoid getting into unnecessary social media feuds.

Take a stance on an issue and communicate how your company plans on responding to it, but leave it at that. Don’t entertain those who are only commenting because they want to pour oil on a flame.

As the CEO, you have an opportunity to set a precedent for the rest of your company.

Know your network

If you are looking to become better at utilizing social media to showcase your vision, you need to know who you are communicating with.

It is important to know who belongs within your network because you want to create content that is tailored to their interests. Your followers look to you for inspiration, ideas, and thought leadership.

This is where your marketing team comes in handy. They know a lot about the accounts and channels that engage with your company, and they can help you understand who is engaging on your personal accounts as well.

Learn more about your followers. It will not only make it easier for you to create content, but it will also help you work towards a more authentic online presence.

In order to generate authentic messages, you must ensure that your network consists of likeminded people, and those that you want to share your story with.

It is extremely important to monitor the actions of your followers and the people you follow. Followers represent your brand because they are subscribing to your message, and potentially sharing it.

Social media gives people the tools to search connections. Potential hires may research your connections to see who you are affiliated with.

Pay close attention to who is engaging with your content and who is in your online social groups.

As you build your online presence, you are going to want to set aside some time to filter through your followers and the people you follow, to ensure that they match your company’s value system.

The last thing you want to do is to lose a great potential hire because one of your connections is affiliated with something you do not agree with.

To maintain your image, try involving your employees in your social journey. They are the best representatives of your company. Involving them will boost employer morale and brand.

As a CEO engaging in social media, you have the opportunity to spread your thought leadership across many platforms to many different people.

Your participation will draw attention to your brand and potential hires. Remaining consistent and active will help build the reputation that is required to support your employer brand.

This is a challenge, but when it is done right, it is oh so rewarding.

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