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4 things executives should not do on social media

Strengthening your company's reputation through online platforms is an important part of brand management. For executives who are navigating through social media, it is even more important to avoid certain behaviours when interacting in this space in a personal and professional capacity. To keep in check with what is permissible, executives should know the required social media etiquette to build and maintain a positive brand image for themselves and the company they represent.

“Building a loyal brand following on social media takes time. By using social media correctly, executives can use this to their advantage to successfully connect with their online following and build a strong online presence,” says Mkhuseli Vangile, MD of The Dynaste Communications Firm.

A survey by BRANDfog, a global social media and digital reputation consulting firm for CEOs and brands, shows that 93% of respondents agree that CEOs who actively participate in social media can build better connections with customers, employees, and investors. More than that, 85% agreed that having a socially active C-Suite leadership team can mitigate risk before a brand reputation crisis occurs.

“As an executive of the company you work for, you have more responsibilities. Such responsibilities include your social media behaviour. For companies, the first stop for people searching for it online is their website. As an executive, the first stop is your social media channels, which is why it is very crucial that you treat them professionally,” adds Vangile.

Here are four things executives should never do on social media to manage their own personal brands:

  1. Type of content not to comment on
  2. It goes without saying that when you reach an executive level, you are by default a brand ambassador for your company. When people are scrolling through your social media channels, they might not differentiate between your personal views vs. your company’s views. If you are an executive with strong views on certain matters, it is very advisable to have a disclaimer on your profile about views on your social media channels being yours and not that of your company.

    You never want to comment on any racial, sexual, sexist and homophobic content on your timeline. For you as an executive, social media is not the right place to express your views or feelings. They might be taken out of context, and this could lead you and your company you work for into disrepute.

  3. Frequency of your posting
  4. As stated before, you must treat your social media channels as business channels and professionally. Therefore, posting frequently will not help your personal brand as businesses do not post frequently as well. Studies by HubSpot show that the more people post, the less social media engagement they receive on their pages.

    Yes, less is more. Plus it is just not a good look to have a mature executive posting so much during the workday when they suppose to be too busy working towards helping their company grow

  5. Type of comments you allow on your channels
  6. As an executive, you must not allow all types of comments on your page. Delete and block comments that will not help your personal brand grow. To have healthy debates that do not involve vulgar, racial slurs or any form of discrimination is accepted, however certain comments must not live on your posts for more than one minute after being posted. If you opt to let them be there, leave a comment that shows that you are strongly against such comments on your page.

  7. Tag permissions
  8. Never have your social media channels to allow anyone to tag you in posts without your permission. Before you are an executive, you are a brother, a friend, a son or even a daughter, and to those who know you personally, they might not understand the professional content you want to be tagged in on your pages.

    It is very crucial that you gate keep every post you are tagged in before it goes live on your timeline. You want to avoid being tagged in images and videos that are inappropriate.

“Being aware of social media etiquette and ensuring that you always apply such behaviour in your personal and professional online space is key to ensuring that your personal image is always protected and helps avoid your company trending for the wrong reasons,” concludes Vangile.

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