Should CEOs tweet?

Over six years ago, after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a sleep-deprived, exhausted CEO of BP commented that he’d “like [his] life back.”

Business heads are indeed human and there are many examples of times when they have said the wrong, or downright inappropriate, thing. Social media makes that threat more of a reality than ever, thanks to the instant nature of the medium. The head of a company will often want to engage with customers, stakeholders and general members of the public online, especially on Twitter.

Here are five things CEOs should consider before posting:

  1. What is the business head hoping to achieve? Any decent businessperson will believe there needs to be a rationale behind every activity. If a CEO wishes to post online they need to consider what the reason for doing it is – perhaps they think having a face of the company in the public domain will make it more approachable or highlight the business’s expertise, for example?
  2. Do they have anything interesting to say? All content must be relevant to the CEO’s role or the industry in which they work – of course some more personal posts will make the business head seem more human, but consider how much should be shared.
  3. Do they think they can update their feed properly? The person updating will need to understand how to use the platforms and its features properly, as well as ensure that content is regular. A lack of posts or an account with a few Tweets several years ago will reflect on the business’s efficiency. It’s not about using the right emoji.
  4. How much do they trust themselves? Any comments or opinions made on a platform by a CEO will naturally be interpreted by the Twittersphere as the views of the company. Agreement should be made that nothing that is posted should be offensive. If there is a strong view about something (i.e. a political stance) a robust rationale should be behind it, and it should reflect the values of the business.
  5. Ask communications support for advice. Any communications person inside or working for the company will always have a view on the ability of the CEO to ‘go social’. If the CEO is worried about asking them, that is your answer right there.

To tweet or not to tweet?

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