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Can CEOs get social?

How to learn from someone else’s social media storm

A small but mighty beauty brand was set to take over the world in 2018. With waiting lists for months on end for the under-£10 essentials from The Ordinary, plus investment from Estee Lauder Companies, no less, consumers couldn’t get enough of Deciem. That is, until its maverick founder Brandon Truaxe removed his social media team and took over its Instagram account himself.

No mean feat when you consider Deciem has 355,000 followers, not to mention the standard 500+ comments on each post. The people were watching. What would the content look like and would Brandon be responsible for answering each follower’s question? We-ell, the content was a little, erm, unconventional and, yes, he answered them all, quite defensively. At least for two weeks while he was travelling the world and no-one could sit him down to change his mind.

What followed was considered by some to be one of the most brand-damaging pieces of PR to be played out in real time, with commentators from global news channels surely rubbing their hands at such easy pickings. Apologies were issued, but this didn’t stop swathes of consumers unfollowing the brand.

Not a great day at the office, then. But it got us thinking about how some of the best CEOs are real characters. You’ve got to have a personality to rise that high and, in person, that eccentricity usually plays out really well. But on social media, when so much can be judged and misinterpreted, is it any wonder that some leaders either hesitate, feel uncomfortable, or simply don’t engage in social media with their teams – internal or otherwise?


Think differently

If you’re that leader or report into them, we can help you think differently. Time is always short (unless you’re on a two week round-the-world trip like Brandon) but once your digital tools of choice are set up, checking in on social can boost business performance in so many ways. It inspires your team, because they feel that you’re not too big to reply to a question or like someone’s post. It offers you real insight into life at your business – whether that’s in your immediate office or on a global level. And it creates a culture that helps everyone understand the part they need to play on social.


Three ways you can become more visible in your organisation


Use a profile pic. We’ve all seen THAT leader with the system-generated profile shot. Using a great snap makes you instantly more human – using one taken outside work is even better. You don’t have to use your suited-up professional headshot to gain your people’s respect.

Be engaged. When someone asks a question, or engages in one of your posts, like what they say! It’s a shortcut to making them feel like you’ve taken the time to read what they have to say. If they’re commenting, why not comment back?

Be active. Use social media to your advantage to get a message out quickly to your people. When you’re inspired share that. With almost 2m followers on LinkedIn, Gary Vaynerchuk, is successful because he creates content that people want to read – they feel inspired by him.


If you need help to navigate the social space with confidence, instead of leaving a trail of disaster behind you, get in touch and we’ll help you start from scratch or rethink how you use what you’ve already got.