Among the many responsibilities carried by CEOs, communication may be one of the most important — because it impacts every aspect of the business. And it’s one of the most complex — because it addresses multiple stakeholders with various messaging across myriad media.
When a CEO develops and executes a well-defined personal communication strategy, their influence, benefits, and impact expand exponentially. Separate from the corporate communications plan, a CEO communications strategy reflects the CEO’s values and goals while simultaneously leading and engaging both internal and external stakeholders.
LinkedIn is the ideal place to deploy this kind of strategy because virtually all your stakeholders are there.
Consider these eight essential elements of CEO communications and how LinkedIn gets you to your goals faster.
#1 Lead by Example: As the company’s public face, a CEO must model the type of communication and behavior that they expect from employees. Be open, honest, and transparent in your communications, and of course, take responsibility for any mistakes or missteps that may occur.
LinkedIn Advantage: A direct (and free) channel to not only your stakeholders but also the general public, LinkedIn is an ideal vehicle for ongoing, authentic communications. Post regularly and positively to demonstrate best practices for your team. And reap the benefit of building credibility and trust, so that when challenges occur — and they always do (see #7) — you have a strong foundation to stand on.
#2 Build Relationships with Key Stakeholders: Every CEO prioritizes building strong relationships with key stakeholders — investors, customers, and employees. Like building any relationship, the process requires regular communication with these groups, seeking their feedback and input, and demonstrating a genuine interest in their needs and concerns.
LinkedIn Advantage: CEOs have many avenues of available communication with their stakeholders. And while email, snail mail, and interoffice systems have value for specific messaging, there’s something organic and inviting — even more open — about using LinkedIn to demonstrate your interest and enable responses to posts. Use LinkedIn’s posts and polls to engage regularly with your stakeholders, and watch how they begin to know, like, and trust you more.
#3 Communicate Company Vision and Goals: CEOs know that to keep everyone on mission, they must continually and clearly communicate the company’s vision and goals to all stakeholders. It’s a huge responsibility and calls for developing a clear and compelling narrative around the mission and purpose and communicating it effectively through all channels.
LinkedIn Advantage: Repetition, repetition, reiteration. Savvy CEOs know that they will need to repeat, reword, and repackage the company’s mission and goals so that all parties internalize and work to accomplish them. LinkedIn offers one more channel of communication — one that is open 24/7/365 and has a never-ending shelf life.
#4 Demonstrate Traction and Momentum: Nothing inspires stakeholders — internal or external — like progress and wins. And nothing makes a stakeholder feel they are part of the company like being well-informed about the company’s progress, achievements, and other updates.
LinkedIn Advantage: Use LinkedIn to tell the story of what your company is doing and share news about funding rounds, partnerships, product launches, new customers, and other significant developments. When CEOs post these kinds of updates, it builds excitement, encourages employees and investors, and lets all interested parties know that the company is worthy of attention. Also, posting this way will positively impact #1, #2, and #3 on this list — this is leadership in action.
#5 Show Thought Leadership: To remain relevant and influential, CEOs need to share their insights, expertise, and perspectives on industry trends, challenges, and innovations. It’s not enough to just keep operations running — CEOs must engage with their industry (and maybe beyond).
LinkedIn Advantage: Establish yourself as a thought leader by sharing your experience, expertise, and perspective in posts and blogs on LinkedIn. Offer insights and helpful information, show your sense of humor, and also what’s important to you. Comment on other thought leaders’ posts and articles, and when someone comments on your posts or articles, respond and engage with them.
#6 Encourage Employee Engagement: While CEOs may be directly responsible for only a few hires, they carry the burden of the company’s total personnel status — and the financial implications of it. How can a CEO positively impact employee retention, motivation, and recruitment?
LinkedIn Advantage: People want to respect and like the people they work for. Use LinkedIn to recognize team members’ accomplishments, promote company culture, and showcase the talent within your organization. These posts build morale and remind employees that they are seen and appreciated.
#7 Manage Crises: When crises or challenges arise, the CEO truly becomes the public face of the company, and the person responsible for not only managing the issues but also communicating effectively with stakeholders.
LinkedIn Advantage: It may seem counter-intuitive to post about challenges or negative events on LinkedIn, but the platform offers CEOs the opportunity to tell the story the way they’d like it conveyed and directly to their stakeholders who follow them on LinkedIn. Open, honest communication almost always pays off, and LinkedIn lets you talk about issues, offer solutions, get feedback, and engage with your people. And of course, share your success when you’re on the other side of the challenge.
#8 Branding Alignment: A CEO’s personal communication strategy will differ from the company’s in some respects, and it’s important to ensure overall alignment between the two. The one-two punch of this powerful combination builds unity and morale in the company and momentum in progress.
LinkedIn Advantage: As you work closely with your communications and marketing teams to ensure that communications are consistent, develop messaging and posting schedules that reinforce your personal and company values. Work with your team to determine which messages are most effective when posted by the CEO (and shared on the LinkedIn company page) and vice versa.
Make LinkedIn Work for You
Most CEOs have a LinkedIn profile, but many are not fully taking advantage of LinkedIn’s potential as a platform for strategic communications. How are you using LinkedIn?
If you’d like a clear picture of where you stand on LinkedIn, let us do a free CEO LinkedIn Audit for you. We’ll review your profile and provide feedback on 10 elements — ranging from first impressions to thought leadership to engagement. You’ll get valuable insights into what’s working and where there are opportunities for improvement. Request your CEO LinkedIn Audit here.