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Use Twitter to your advantage

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Most CEOs do not tweet. Are they missing something? The pervasiveness of social media affords leaders a golden opportunity to connect directly with employees, customers and the public. Twitter offers a particularly easy and effective channel for executive outreach.

If you run a public company, you can tweet highlights of your quarterly earnings calls. Omar Ishrak, Medtronic’s CEO, summarizes the latest financial reports and corporate news on Twitter. As a result, the medical device maker’s 46,000 employees and other interested parties can gain a better understanding of what the CEO deems important.

Another way to capitalize on Twitter is to cite success stories and praise em­­ployees for superior work. This cushions leaders from a common employee complaint, “I never hear from our CEO.”

Similarly, CEOs can use Twitter to respond to questions from clients and other outsiders. When a Medronic customer tweeted “my insulin pump broke and I’ve been on hold for 2 hours and 45 minutes,” Ishrak wrote back the same day. Aside from replying to specific issues, your tweets can serve as an archive of answers to the most frequently voiced concerns.

To increase your presence, you can tweet about regional initiatives or share your opinion on current affairs. You can draw positive attention to topics such as your organization’s commitment to volunteerism in the community.

Jack Salzwedel, CEO of American Family Insurance, often tweets about his company’s efforts to give back to the community. He also links to online content that he deems interesting.

— Adapted from “14 answers to the ‘what do I say on Twitter?’ question from your CEO,” Arik Hanson, www.arikhanson.com.

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