Walk The Talk – How Business Leaders Become Social Influencers

Walk The Talk – How Business Leaders Become Social Influencers



In today's digitized and networked society, it’s impossible to ignore customers’ exchange of opinions and impressions on the net, let it be about brands, products or competitive offers. Future-oriented leaders need to embrace these conversations and become role models by actively engaging in them. This will build their personal brand and create value to the company in multiple ways. But where should executives start?

Digital Transformation is viewed by many as a mere buzzword. But it’s no question that it has shaken up industries and forced businesses to rethink their entire value chain. Ahead of the pack are CEOs who do embrace digital as part of their jobs. Simply relying on technology is no longer enough. A mind shift is the catalyst to fully leverage opportunities in the digital world. C-Level executives and other leaders must tackle organizational inertia head-on by arming themselves with the understanding of what Digital Transformation actually means.

The buyers of tomorrow live on social media.

Social networks embody a fundamental shift in communication as they enable customers to research, evaluate and discuss a company’s brand and products in public. People talk and it has become impossible not to listen to this collective dialogue – companies have to join in. This impacts top management just as much: as figureheads of their brands and role models for their employees, executives must acknowledge communication on social media as an integral part of their job description and become ‘brand ambassadors 2.0’.

While everyone loves a good story, it’s just as important who tells the story.

Engaging in social media is a necessity: Being recognized as a thought leader will positively affect the perception internal and external audiences can have on a brand. Recent studies found that “80 % of employees would rather work for a social CEO, and 2 out of 3 customers say that their perception of the CEO impacts their perception of the company” (LinkedIn, 2014, p.13).

Executives must implement social media as an integral part of their job.

Therefore, 21st century top managers need to take ownership for the challenges and ask themselves – if markets are conversations, how can we learn to listen, understand, and participate in them effectively?

There is no shortcut to building influence.

It is vital that CEOs and other digital leaders take an active role in the web discussions pertaining to their brand. There is no shortcut to building a strong online brand presence. What it takes is consistency, perseverance, and a plan. By focusing on what works, you can speed up the process. Here are five key steps that pave your way to becoming a digital influencer:

  • Create your personal content strategy: Before publishing content and engaging in online discussions, decide what you want to talk about. Ask yourself: what do you want to be known for? Choose between one and three topics.
  • Get Social! This is as easy as setting up the social media profiles that fit the style of your corporation: in most industries (especially B2B), LinkedIn and Twitter are great starting points. Use professional profile pictures and a short and meaningful bio. Be consistent across platforms.
  • Sharing is Caring: Once your profiles are set up, share engaging content worth spreading. Whenever you can, add your own twist to the story. This provides value to your audience and will help you build your personal brand.
  • Tell your story in your own words: Creating your own content and sharing your professional story is the most important step towards positioning yourself as an authentic thought leader in your field. Be the source of insightful content that supports your audience with solutions to their problems they would not otherwise get.
  • Engage! Finally, show your audience that you are serious, committed, and that you care. Good strategies to build lasting relationships include asking questions, replying to their comments or liking their content.


There is no shortcut for building a strong online brand presence. It takes consistency, perseverance, and a plan.

Following these simple steps, executives can create a strong brand for themselves and serve as figureheads for the whole corporation. By supercharging their personal online presence, they will increase the reputation of their corporate brand in the eyes of customers, investors, employees, and other stakeholders. Those who understand this paradigm shift in communication will be the ones to succeed in the future.