Years ago the basic executive assistant (EA) job description entailed utmost focus on the seamless operation of the office and gatekeeper of the executive’s phone, door and email. Fast forward to the era of social media and the internet of things, the role is broadening as executives begin to reshape leadership with redefining the communication landscape. How can the EA bring value and help the leadership team go from meeting behind closed doors to promoting a new transparent platform – the human factor?
The numbers are not alarming but have increased since Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter became mainstream. Thus far, based on findings from research via CEO.com and Domo, reveal that a handful of CEO’s are finding the time to invest in being engaged:
- 68% of CEOs have no social presence whatsoever on the five social networks
- More CEOs are on Instagram than on Google+
- On average, younger CEOs are much more social than older CEOs
- LinkedIn dominates as the “entry” network of choice for CEOs. Of those CEOs who are only on one social network, 74% are on LinkedIn
- 69% of CEOs who have Twitter accounts are actually tweeting
Most CEO’s and executives get the big picture but social proficiency is key to build rapport and maintain a consistent level of active engagement. This is where the EA can step in and help the leadership team adopt social best practices. Meet Jack Salzwedel (@AmFamJack), the Chairman and CEO of American Family – he is highlighted in the report as one of the most actively engaged on Twitter. There are a number of other executives highlighted in the report namely, Mark Bertolini (@mtbert) Chairman & CEO at Aetna to Meg Whitman (@MegWhitman) CEO at HP — view the expanded list here. The CEO of Benefitfocus, Shawn Jenkins (@shawn_a_jenkins), who is not listed but worth noting he is actively engaged in the Twitter platform, consistently blogs and uses other forms of media to communicate not only across external media channels but also internally with the organization’s employees.
With these recent statistics and findings, this is the prime opportunity for the EA to create a S.O.C.I.A.L (simple, open, collaborative, influential, active and listen) business plan for the office and become the Social Office Champion! Before diving into social business, an earlier post shares basic tips for an EA to slowly get immersed into the social sphere: Social Media Tips for the Executive Assistant.
The S.O.C.I.A.L plan outline below is the basic foundation to build from and can be tweaked as needed to suit most organizations. Not every point needs to be incorporated into the plan and it is fluid enough to incorporate actions that arise as a result of the initial meeting with the SEAs (Social Executive Assistants).
Initial planning phase of the S.O.C.I.A.L Plan
- Source a pool of EAs to help support the project and list as S.O.C.I.A.L SMEs (SEAs)
- Align goals of the plan with the organization’s strategy
- Define the overall objective of the project
- Develop a timeline to measure progress against
Develop the S.O.C.I.A.L Plan
- Each Monday pull together a brief report of latest trends and developments of the organization then draft a blog for the CEO to build from – mix it up with snapshot of and/or excerpts from leadership meetings, fun charitable events, 4th quarter outlook, etc.)
- Carve out time two days a week for a couple hours to randomly post and/or tweet – pick days that would easily fall into one of the Twitter daily hashtags (i.e. #MotivationMonday, #TransformationTuesday, etc.)
- Share the plan with the leadership team so they can build on and/or retweet posts, ” like” on Facebook or LinkedIn
Launch the S.O.C.I.A.L
- Seek out additional champions and/or stakeholders throughout the organization that fall into one of these groups:
- Mavens — these employees are SMEs in their field, typically the “go to” people
- Influencers — these employees are the “well informed” of the who knows who does what, when and how or they can find out fast – typically can help with adoption and keep it spreading.
- Facilitators — these employees have what it to keep a group of people working together – typically can help with channeling Q&As
- Develop a resource that outlines the plan, the value of social business and the importance of enterprise-wide support of S.O.C.I.A.L to share with each of the groups,
- Schedule weekly check-ins to get feedback, ideas and suggestions on the project
- Consistently share the progress report, including the feedback, ideas and suggestions, with the leadership team
Actively Remain Engaged
- Build a foundation based on the learnings and progress throughout the project
- Explore other ways to incorporate social business into organization activities, meetings and events – check-out this resource via Cvent to enhance the employee event experience
- Research other companies and learn how their campaigns are measuring up – check-out how Cisco incorporates social media into their everyday operations.
Start small if social business is entirely new and a bit overwhelming. As the old adage states, “practice makes perfect”! And in closing it is always a good measure to anticipate the need of the office rather than operate under assumption so always be sure to explore and analyze before taking action!