The Ultimate CEO’s Guide to Twitter
(Slightly edited version of the one originally published in Feb ’12 SmartCEO DC mag)
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This month we’re really going to open up a can of digital worms. (Yuck.) One of the most frequently asked questions among CEOs these days is whether they should be on Twitter. The answer is unequivocally yes, if for no other reason than to avoid the appearance of being a luddite or dinosaur.
For CEOs thinking about taking their message into the social media realm, the first thing to determine is what experts call your “voice.” Of course, these are the same experts who pumped up concepts like New Coke, the Zune and Clairol’s Touch of Yogurt Shampoo (seriously), so be forewarned.
In any case, your “voice” is the uniquely original perspective you will bring to the Twitter-sphere, presumably on a topic of interest to others. To help you decide which CEO Twitter voice is right for you, here are some examples (all based, of course, on fictional personas):
Voice: “Me, me and, oh yes, a bit more about me.”
Sample Content: My incredible exploits on the ski slopes at Whistler. My smart, athletic kids. My new Audi S8. My awesome recipe for lemon-rind infused pork ribs using indirect heat on a charcoal grill. (You get the idea.) Faux-hip tagline on business card: “Got Tweets?”
Dream: Keep ticking’ off things on my Bucket List.
Voice: “The bully pulpit. What am I ranting against? Whaddya got?”
Sample Content: Environment. Politics. The Status of Refugees in Belarus. Just trying to stir things up on any subject, no matter how minor or how thoroughly the terrain has already been plowed. “Can you believe the congestion in Tysons during lunchtime? It’s like a 3rd rush hour! #traffic”
Dream: To be re-tweeted just once…by anyone…on any topic.
Voice: No personal detail too trivial or off limits.
Sample Content: “Twizzlers is my fave midnight snack. What’s yours? #yummy” “Correction to previous tweet: Twizzlers ARE my fave snack. #mybad” Typical breathless post: “I’m tweeting from a limo! #wow”
Dream: Get to 20 followers.
Voice: “I see the wonder, goodness and glory in everything around me.”
Sample Content: Any up-themed quote from a statesman/woman, philospher or writer. “There’s a reason the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror! #lookforward” “Today is the first day of the rest of your career! #bpos”
Dream: To leverage ceaseless, ultra-positive energy to eradicate negativity, nastiness and snarkiness in our lifetime.
Voice: “You might think the sky is blue but I have another take on that.”
Sample Content: “Top ten reasons the Tysons metro was not built underground even though it should have been. #backroomdeal” “I just announced a nationwide boycott of hotels that charge for Wi-Fi! #occupyhotels” “My extensive investigation shows that white papers are actually being used to promote a company’s products or services. #foolmeonce”
Dream: To effect change, no matter how small.
Voice: “Social media isn’t about me, it helps my business.” (Truth: “It’s about me.”)
Sample Content: “Our business is growing so fast I can hardly breathe! We’re tripling our staff in the next two weeks!” “My email inbox is finally down to 10,000 #yikes”
Dream: For people to ask, “When are you going public!”