Posted 10.05.2022 by Josh Krakauer
A decade ago, the conventional advice for CEOs was simple: Stay off social media.
At best, executive social media was strategic comms. At worst, it was distracting, cause for trouble, and better centralized with the brand accounts.
In modern social, there’s a different take: Use your influence.
If you’re running marketing or comms for your company (especially one that’s large and B2B), you should know that company executives play an essential role in your social media strategy.
For getting started, see our previous guide on why brands should embrace exec social and how they can start their own program.
Assuming your CEO is fired up to become a corporate influencer, the next question becomes: What do they have to say?
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are 30 starter social media post ideas to replicate for your CEO, followed by our top Exec Social Best Practices to keep in mind as you craft your posts.
In this guide, you will find:
Social media has evolved significantly over the last decade. CEOs who want to post on social media now have numerous options.
For example, while some CEOs and company executives use social media to tackle customer service issues head-on, others use their pages to share relevant and industry-related topics. If you’re stumped on social media topic ideas, this guide can help you stay relevant and keep your audience engaged.
A quick note: Remember that while a CEO can show their personality through their social media posts, customers will always link CEOs with the company they lead.
Following are 30 proven content ideas that B2B leaders and CEOs can use to jump-start their social media activities.
Customers follow company executives on social media to learn about what the company is working on. Taking time to introduce new products and how they help customers is a smart way to connect with your audience.
Instead of posting a press release and calling it a day, why not lead with your CEOs own words?
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri embodies this principle. All major (and some minor) product updates are introduced through a personal video. Here’s an example unveiling new improvements to Reels:
Here is an example from HubSpot CEO Yamini Rangan introducing the company’s HubSpot Payments system and how it impacts the customer:
Product announcements are your company’s first chance to get customers excited about the product. (Don’t forget that you only get one chance to make a great first impression when you announce the product.)
As an example of one approach, here is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introducing Microsoft Entra, highlighting what it brings to the table:
As the head of the company, people are more likely to ask you direct questions through platforms like LinkedIn than when a product is announced on an official company page.
Overall, this approach can generate more engagement and visibility for a product release.
Testimonials are an effective form of social proof and brand credibility. Allowing customers to talk about specific ways your product has helped them significantly influences purchasing decisions.
As long as you’re not breaching an NDA, share good feedback from your customers.
I'm so excited watching the Apps developer community really leaning into checkout extensions. There is a ton of potential here for millions of merchants. https://t.co/UdCTZ3OQDL
— tobi lutke (@tobi) July 20, 2022
Case studies — you know them, you love them.
There are many ways to promote and share case studies — through newsletters, videos, blogs, or just plain-text, personal stories.
A solid case study should include four critical components:
Bonus: Case studies offer an opportunity to tag your customers directly. Don’t waste it!
So how do you use them? Here’s an example of a case study from Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella:
Highlighting your product’s use cases is a trusted social media content idea for many B2B brands, and it’s something a CEO can readily replicate.
Rather than listing your product’s features, share instances where one of the product’s core functionalities helped the customer.
A product use case can help prospective clients visualize themselves using a feature. For example, you can highlight a particular need within your client’s workflow and introduce how your brand tailored a product feature to solve that challenge.
IBM’s CEO Arvind Krishna shares a tweet on how IBM #AI is helping clients handle complex data.
See how IBM #AI is helping clients turn complex data into sustainable action to meet their environmental targets: https://t.co/E6f5EDh43A pic.twitter.com/ZcSUR7TjPz
— Arvind Krishna (@ArvindKrishna) August 1, 2022
Your CEO has strong views on where the industry is headed. Use that.
Publishing industry-specific content on LinkedIn can demonstrate your thought leadership and boost your reputation. And as a company leader, you’re one of the best sources for that information.
Here’s a post by Richard Branson commenting on action against climate change:
An excellent step in the right direction for California which just passed a law requiring a 25% reduction of plastics in single-use products by 2032: https://t.co/jp4IbDKQVb
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) July 22, 2022
When your CEO openly shares their knowledge, your audience will look to you for more information and commentary on the latest industry-related topics.
If your brand is mentioned positively in the media, your CEO should take the opportunity to recognize the news — and the people that made it newsworthy.
For example, Box was recognized as one of the best places to work in 2022. CEO Aaron Levie was excited and shared this post on LinkedIn:
When CNBC included Nasdaq in the JUST Capital 100 List, CEO Adena Friedman quickly posted about it.
Your brand’s credibility and reputation improve whenever you’re positively discussed in the media.
Pro tip: You can use social listening tools to find out whenever media brands (of any size) mention you.
Having your CEO recognize important holidays and cultural events is one way to show your brand’s culture of inclusion.
Remember, your social media audience is likely spread out across different countries, comprised of people with different beliefs.
What’s important and personal for your CEO?
In this example, Goldman Sachs’ Chairman & CEO commemorates the Juneteenth holiday.
For Annette Clayton, the North American CEO of Schneider Electric, championing women’s equality issues is a core value. Naturally, she was a prominent voice during women’s equality day.
If a topic generates a lot of buzz, creating a poll is a great way to get in on the action. Polls are great for boosting engagement and are a quick way to get people’s opinions about a topic.
You can create a poll to collect audience research and feedback on a product. LinkedIn and Twitter polls are an effective and quick way to get that customer feedback.
But beyond gauging customer satisfaction, polls can also reveal customer expectations. Ultimately, you’ll learn more about your audience and the areas where you can meet their needs.
Here’s an example from the CEO of Remote, Job van der Voort.
People want to follow and engage with people, not robots. Sharing content related to your life outside of work keeps your followers engaged.
Virgin founder Richard Branson is a leader known to be adventurous, and his posts often reflect that spirit:
Eating Our Way to Extinction – such a thought-provoking film by my wonderful nephew, Ludo. Watch free on YouTube: https://t.co/HpnQE8PDRg @EatingOur pic.twitter.com/6M3trWVxzc
— Richard Branson (@richardbranson) August 1, 2022
You could share a post about a trip you took, or share an accomplishment within your family.
But remember that timing matters when you think about sharing your favorite things to do. However, ensure you run every post by your social media team before it goes live.
An easy way to start a conversation with your customers is to ask for recommendations.
When you ask questions, people are eager to chip in — especially when they are customers who already use your product or service. In this example, ClickUp Founder and CEO, Zeb Evans, asked his LinkedIn connections for strategies to stay optimistic about solving problems:
CEOs have a broader and more diverse audience reach. So CEOs and other execs can drive better traffic, create awareness and engagement by sharing their company blogs.
Also, sharing your company’s content can set an example for employee advocacy.
To give an idea, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai shares a blog about his company joining the Economic Opportunity Coalition.
Proud to join with 23 companies and foundations to launch the Economic Opportunity Coalition. Together, we'll work to help build a stronger US economy through support for small businesses, community finance orgs, underserved communities + more. https://t.co/Dv1ZodLCra
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) July 28, 2022
Share information about your company’s revenue and employee growth, and office expansion with your audience.
Reflecting on the brand’s growth highlights your company’s incredible journey and allows your audience to personally connect with you.
In this Tweet Salesforce’s CEO Marc Benioff reflects on the company’s YoY financial growth.
2023 $31.8B (guidance)
Thank you Ohana! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/CMhrBXgHSF
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) May 31, 2022
Announcing new employees shows a positive organizational culture. It can also be a way to attract talent.
Here’s an example of HubSpot President and CEO Yamini Rangan introducing a new employee and explaining their role:
Another example by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announcing Brian Millham as the company’s new COO.
Congratulations Brian Millham NEW Salesforce COO! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/jpDnuWvce1
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) August 8, 2022
But you don’t have to limit yourself to mentioning top-ranking employees. You can announce new staff at every level.
LinkedIn’s CEO Ryan Roslansky welcomed new interns in his LinkedIn post:
Celebrating your longtime team members builds reinforces a culture that customers appreciate. It can also promote employee advocacy.
Here’s an instance from Cognizant’s CEO Brian Humphries celebrating an employee who has been with the company for 21 years.
Inform your customers of unique benefits by sharing updates about new or existing partnerships with other brands.
This will boost your popularity and brand growth.
Here’s an example from Apple’s CEO Tim Cook celebrating the company’s partnership with KodeWithKlossy.
These aspiring coders, creators, and entrepreneurs are blazing exciting new trails. Proud to continue our longstanding partnership with @KodeWithKlossy to empower young women to write the apps of the future. Thanks, Apple Fifth Avenue team, for hosting these talented scholars! https://t.co/FM5SchTGsP
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) August 20, 2022
Build rapport with other company executives to expands your reach. It also fosters collaboration, which can be helpful in future partnerships.
You can tag industry experts in your posts or drop a comment when you find valuable content from other thought leaders.
Here’s an example from the Founder & CEO of DELL Technologies, Michael Dell.
Really enjoyed our conversation @reidhoffman. Thanks for having me on your latest episode of @mastersofscale. https://t.co/1IZIg5YO2i #PlayNiceButWin pic.twitter.com/i6EkfImwM5
— Michael Dell (@MichaelDell) June 28, 2022
Comments on industry research can get you followers.
But be thoughtful and offer a valuable perspective.
For example, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki commented on an OxfordEconomics report about the creator economy spotlighting YouTube’s impact.
A new @OxfordEconomics report estimates that last year YouTube's creative ecosystem supported more than 425,000 jobs in the U.S. and contributed more than $25 billion to the U.S. GDP. Read how creators like @KukuwaFitness are making an economic impact: https://t.co/5hBZpngVkD
— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) July 20, 2022
Although delving into social issues can be problematic for brands, social causes that align with your brand’s mission are exceptions.
Support social issues that align with your brand’s standpoint. Your customers might take sides on important causes. And sometimes, this can influence their brand reputation.
For example, Nasdaq is a strong supporter of climate change as well as reducing our carbon footprint. These causes align with the company’s mission, which is why you’ll find CEO Adena Friedman talking about them.
“The comment is the content.” Often, how you reply, and who you reply to, creates a bigger story than the posts you broadcast to everyone.
Especially considering LinkedIn’s algorithmic bias towards comments.
Comment on posts from your employees, customers, influencers, and partners.
Here’s a creative example by Susan Wojcicki.
We've got a great YouTube sign at our headquarters, @ChrisIvan_10. You should come visit! https://t.co/kvelhxWmeB
— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) July 21, 2022
Now that you know what to post on social media, it’s time to learn how to post content.
You have lots of options, but here are our top 10 social media content format tips that work best for CEOs and execs:
AMAs are effective ways to respond to customer feedback.
You can structure AMAs around specific events, such as product launches, special announcements, or industry-related buzz.
For more participation, you can schedule and promote AMAs well in advance.
A helpful Twitter thread starts with a catchy title describing what you want to discuss, and why. Make sure you space your content well, and write in short sentences. Use storytelling to keep your readers engaged until the end.
Your CEO may feel uncomfortable sharing their own face on social media. Not everyone loves a selfie. But social media is, well, social.
CEOs and other executives with personal profiles appear more approachable, human, honest, accessible, and trustworthy.
A casual image of yourself shows your human side. It’s something that many customers want to see.
Regardless of your social media plan and goals, video will always fit into your strategy.
A periodic interview video series with industry experts or in-house media is great if you want to demonstrate thought leadership.
For example, the CEO of Elastic Path, Jamus Driscoll, hosts a periodic interview series featuring customers and industry experts.
Carousels are adequate for the long text you want customers to read through.
They can be used to announce product updates or explain a product feature.
Another interactive way to use carousels is to tell your brand story. It could be through a business growth story, client testimonials, or case studies.
There are plenty of cool ways to use a carousel. So don’t be afraid to get creative with carousels when you want to share content.
Newsletter also provides a pathway for people to learn more about your company, products, and point of view. Bonus: They get incredible engagement, since people are opting in explicitly and being notified of new posts. If your CEO enjoys writing, or you can help them sustain the cadence (consistency is key), consider tapping into this format.
This feature is built into both LinkedIn and Twitter.
Cue the Elon Musk comparisons. 😉
If your CEO has a sense of humor and love of the internet, memes might already be their love language.
If you have the capacity to create funny memes that apply to your industry, go for it.
Memes can sometimes take the edge off and help you connect with your audience. Memes are a subtle way to show empathy for the struggles you know your customers are facing, and express it in a familiar way.
Offering valuable content without asking for anything demonstrates that you’re community-focused.
Convert in-house research into takeaways. It’ll highlight your expertise as a thought leader.
Plus, it makes citing your company’s research easy.
Here’s an example from Clari CEO Andy Byrne:
And another from Greg Coquillo of Amazon
Live discussion is a great way to interact with your customers — unscripted.
Speaking live is an excellent way to build trust and demonstrate in-depth knowledge about a topic.
You can go live on Facebook, Twitter Spaces, YouTube, and LinkedIn Live. These platforms give your followers access to you in real-time, which is excellent for building trust and credibility.
If you’re not yet comfortable going live, you can record a talking head video optimized for vertically-native formats like mobile view. Your videos don’t always have to be professionally edited.
If you’re unsure how to get started, you can share tips on a particular topic or summarize a specific blog post into actionable steps.
For example, LinkedIn’s COO, Daniel Shapero, shares very short videos (between 30 seconds and 2 minutes) on business and professional growth.
Using social media goes beyond just sharing content. Anyone can do that.
But an executive social media program operates differently. A reputable executive social presence increases customer and shareholder trust.
Here are some best practices for CEOs who want to use social media to make the most of their online presence.
Simply setting up an account and publishing content without a specific goal is not enough. A successful executive social media program needs to have a clearly defined objective.
Many CEOs find that having a solid online presence helps their businesses achieve specific business or growth targets, such as expanding brand awareness, increasing revenue, or generating leads. (Without an objective, you’re just posting content).
A plan also makes your activities measurable. When you set a social media goal, tracking and measuring if you’re hitting your targets is easier. Your specific goals will determine your social media KPIs.
Stating facts and statistics is a powerful way to get your audience’s attention. But there’s plenty of false information on the internet. So it’s essential to check and double-check your facts to ensure they’re correct. All it takes to lose your credibility is a customer or potential customer who has verified your information — not you.
You will almost certainly lose your credibility if what you say is false.
Needless to say, this can be embarrassing for a supposed industry expert and thought leader. If your post is marketing-related, state facts so that you don’t look like you’re making up information just to get attention and boost sales.
After you’ve double-checked (and even triple-checked) your information, as the next step, run it by your social media team and get opinions from multiple people before clicking the post button.
Being an empathetic CEO goes a long way. Empathy strengthens your social media reputation.
Before you can earn loyalty from employees and investors, they need to know that you understand their perspectives, feelings, and thoughts.
Empathy can also increase understanding of customers’ pain points and needs.
Sales increase when you can connect with your audience and nurture relationships.
Focus on what’s most valuable to your followers.
Your audience needs to know the exact type of content you regularly discuss. The best practice is sticking to two or three topics for starting out.
Executives and CEOs usually share posts about industry leadership, thought leadership, brand messaging, and customer success stories or case studies.
Transparency and authenticity are core values that many customers look for in brands. And now more than ever, transparency influences purchasing decisions.
A consistent and authentic social media presence — that includes company executives — humanizes the brand.
Customers want to feel a personal connection with the management of their favorite brands; for many, this means interacting with the CEO directly.
Social media is about relationships, not just marketing strategies. People want to connect with other people, not products.
We have a few more tips to share. Make sure you avoid making the following mistakes on social media if you want to be taken seriously.
Grammatical errors influence the audience’s perception of a brand on social media.
Your audience could spot a grammatical mistake and be turned off immediately. The consequences for CEOs can be far-reaching. Especially if your goal is to increase sales or generate leads.
In the words of Kyle Wiens (founder of Dozuki software and CEO of iFixit):
“Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blogs, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have.”
One glaring typo or embarrassing spelling mistake in a social media post can have a long-lasting impact on your business. It could give potential customers the impression that you are unreliable and unprofessional.
Credibility is difficult to get and easy to lose. Your audience needs to know they can trust you. They need to know your motivations and intent.
It bears repeating: It’s important to double-check any facts you post. And don’t mislead your audience by making false claims about your personal life or brand journey.
Be thoughtful with your posts. Put your customers’ well-being first. Don’t risk encouraging them into detrimental situations.
Customers often attribute the reputation of company executives to the brand. So having a professional outlook on social media can significantly improve your brand’s reputation.
A CEO’s opinion can shape how people perceive the brand’s company culture. CEOs must be extremely careful when sharing their thoughts about politics, religion, and social issues.
Many execs are open about social issues such as climate change, racism, and the LGBTQ movement. But there are plenty of moments when business leaders have created tension after discussing social issues.
For example, former CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman resigned after his controversial tweets about George Floyd and COVID-19. Following his resignation, Reebok, one of the brand’s key partners, ended its partnership immediately. CrossFit went on to lose hundreds of affiliated gyms worldwide.
Still, customers now expect brands to take a stance on social causes. While it’s tricky, it is possible.
Suppose you, as a company leader, feel pressured to contribute to social issue discussions. In that case, it’s wise to use social media to document positive changes being made in your organization in response.
Politics can also be sensitive, but CEOs can find ways to talk about politics effectively without ruffling any feathers.
For example, during the 2020 US elections, many executives and CEOs such as Georgie Benardete, Co-founder and CEO of Align17, simply encouraged people to vote, rather than leaning towards one political party. But ultimately, unless necessary, CEOs need to avoid sensitive topics like these.
Not tailoring your content to the medium you’re using is a common mistake most CEOs make on social media.
Today’s CEOs can choose from many popular social media sites to build their presence, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
All social media platforms are different, and treating them as though they’re all the same is dangerous because audience perception of each social media platform differs.
LinkedIn is perceived as having a strict corporate outlook. Twitter is flexible and more interactive. Make sure to respond to comments.
All social media platforms have distinct ways of optimally distributing content. Whether through image formatting, tone, hashtag usage, or how you link to other content, it’s essential to tailor your content to the platform you’re using.
Ultimately, you don’t have to be on all platforms as a CEO. Use social listening tools to ascertain where your customers and audience are before setting up a profile on any (or all!) social media platforms.
We’ve highlighted the importance of being genuine on social media.
It sounds like a monumental task, but communicating both doesn’t have to be complicated. The following five crucial CEO communication tips for social media will help.
Customers can see formality on your brand’s official page. They don’t want to see that same strategy in your posts. They expect that your posts reflect your persona, and therefore, they will be more casual.
Take the edge off the tone of your posts, but don’t altogether remove formality. A bit of formal style strengthens your voice and authority as a leader. So maintain an air of corporate culture while keeping your posts as conversational as possible. Use a little humor where appropriate.
You can show greater transparency with your social media posts by adding sources and proof for any claims made. (For instance, tag the customer into the post when you share a customer case study or show their comments about the product.) You can also show transparency by mentioning the source and discussing any facts or research you use in your posts.
By doing this, you communicate that you don’t have hidden motives and can point the audience in the right direction if they want to verify info or learn more.
As we’ve mentioned, social media doesn’t always have to be promotional or sales-driven. Some CEOs publish original brand content like blogs or vlogs weekly to remain visible, keep their audience engaged, and add value.
CEOs can also provide higher-level views on leadership, company culture, innovative thoughts, and vision. This strategy gives CEOs more visibility and positions them as industry leaders.
When you share valuable content on specific topics, you become the go-to person for your audience. Value demonstrates expertise and knowledge in your field.
Consistent voice + Consistent tone + Consistent presence = Success.
Your brand’s purpose should reflect across all messaging and activities.
Whenever you share a post on thought leadership, it should align with your brand’s overall mission.
Consistency with your brand’s purpose will help you engage your customers effectively, keep them interested, and attract investors or organizations with similar visions.
Being authentic requires sharing unique content that people can relate to. It shows genuineness and demonstrates that your executive status hasn’t made you lose touch.
The fantastic thing about social media is that you can tailor your posts to align with your overall business goals and brand purpose. Implementing a few tips and post ideas in this guide can improve your brand visibility, help you connect more with your customers, and strengthen your position as an industry leader.
No matter what you post, don’t forget to be intentional about why you’re on social media — to show empathy and provide value. Be willing to engage with your audience. These are musts regardless of your brand’s purpose.
Starting an executive social media account requires thorough planning. Here are 7 key ways to build an executive social media strategy:
Executives, CEOs, and founders are an extension of the company. Their presence on social media humanizes their brand, and being active on social media creates feelings of authenticity, transparency, and accessibility for customers. Social CEOs build trust, confidence, and credibility. It’s easier for a brand to maneuver during a crisis if a CEO is already active on social media than if they create an account amid a firestorm.
The best platform for CEOs and executives depends mainly on the audience they want to reach. However, LinkedIn is most popular among corporate CEOs, while Twitter and Facebook are excellent social networks for various businesses and roles.
According to SproutSocial, the standard content types that people want to see CEOs and executives post are reasoning for business decisions (84%); industry thought leadership (82%); a behind-the-scenes look into their company (82%), and what the brand plans to do after a crisis (81%).
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