I was brand new to a corporation as a strategist when I wrote a strategy for a monthly Twitter chat that was to be hosted by an expert at one of its hospitals once a month. Little did I know that the expert would be the greatly feared president of the corporation who did not have any presence whatsoever on social media. On one beautiful sunny day a few weeks into my new role, my boss called me into his office and told me that I would be flying to Philadelphia to host the chat with the president. Beforehand, I needed to have multiple calls with him, set up a Twitter account for him, and ghost write tweets that he would approve. I was terrified. I saw my entire career dissipate before my eyes. An introvert at heart, I had no idea how I was even going to initiate the first phone call with this greatly regarded doctor. But I did. Hands shaking, I explained my idea to him and we began our email string of ghost tweets. Much to my surprise, he was not at all the feared character that had been described in the halls of the corporate office. Maybe he heard my high-pitched, soft voice and immediately felt sorry for me. Or, maybe someone just needed to be brave enough to actually speak with him.
Three weeks and 500 followers later, I arrived at his conference room in Philadelphia. He showed up five minutes before the chat and wasn’t sure that he could stay for the whole chat. Sweat started to seep through my blue dress as the first question went life on our corporate Twitter account. I reviewed the answer with him. He passively approved. Then I noticed his fascination with his Apple watch and asked if he wanted to receive his Twitter notifications on it. So we set it up and then I carefully explained each tweet to him and why people wrote tweets in a certain way. Then we moved on to a discussion around hashtags as I “ghost answered” for him on his account. By the end of the chat, he was absolutely fascinated by the notifications on his watch and that people actually cared about what he had to say. To this day, I have never met such an accomplished, humble man. Our stellar working relationship just continued to grow from there and soon his Twitter chat was one of the top ten trends in the United States. Why this sudden shift in an executive who was allegedly to be feared and anti-social media? Someone took the time to actually walk him through the value of social media in realtime and explain it to him.
Many social media pros make the mistake of taking anti-social media leaders at face value when those leaders are actually looking for social media experts to help them understand the new media. Others think that the brand channels are all they are responsible for, so why would they care what their leadership team is or isn’t doing on social media? That is the biggest mistake of all. With Millennials becoming core consumers, they are looking more into “who” is behind brands, rather than just looking at the brand itself. They want to know the values and the people that the company is hiring. And what do you think they think when they go to a leader’s Twitter account and it’s last tweet is from 2013?