Technology is reshaping business. Mostly everything is now digital and as a result, CEOs need to consider their corporate social responsibility from a digital standpoint. Covid-19 has forced the majority of businesses to work remotely and become digitally enabled, and CEOs have had to lead in what are very challenging times.
We are social reports that over 4.5 billion people use the internet worldwide, and 3.8 billion have social media accounts with the main purpose to be ‘social’, but now online social platforms are used to learn, work, collaborate and communicate.
With employees using these channels to communicate whenever or however, often reaching a blend of colleagues, family and friends, digital social responsibility must be a vital part of the company’s overall corporate social responsibility (CSR). As such the CEO should be an advocate of behaving appropriately, socially and portray a good example of how to act online.
Faye Eldridge – Founder of FYAMI Growth Consultancy, discusses why it is important for CEO’s to use their social channels responsibly.
Think before you post
Bad digital behaviour is bad for business and reputation. As a CEO, view digital social responsibly with the utmost importance, leading from the front and think carefully before you post. You also need to ensure that those around you including employees, understand its power and potential impact on the business.
It leaves a digital footprint
Remind employees that many of the things they post online will stay online, potentially forever, so double sense check any posts before they go live as a person’s digital footprint is traceable digital activities, actions, contributions and communications that manifest online.
Damage the business reputation
Remember that there’s no distinction between work and personal when it comes to social media as most people will have a trail of information linking them to their employer. For example, if an employee posts something that could be considered derogatory, rude, politically or ethically insensitive, for example, then this will reflect badly back onto the reputation of the business. This could break down trust among employees and customers, affecting how they perceive the organisation.
Unless you’re in politics, it’s best to stay away from posting political views online. CEOs are the face of the business and their views influence others. Sharing personal political views will automatically be considered the company’s political position and could alienate customers or employees with conflicting views. If you have a view on something like the pandemic, word it in a way that will not cause your employees or customers upset or distress. You’re representing a business, it’s not just about you. Whilst being controversial can work in business, you have to think about the type of business you’re in and whether ‘typing that,’ on your LinkedIn page is going to provide some form of positivity or not. Is it resonating with your business brand? If not, don’t do it.
It could breach compliance
For many businesses, being compliant is a legal requirement. Therefore, leaders should ensure that all employees are fully compliant aware and adhere to company practices and guidance to reduce these risks.
To avoid any mishaps, implement a social media policy with clear guidelines for all stakeholders as part of the company’s CSR plan. Regular online, on demand training should be available for all employees so they’re aware of the risks of using digital social media channels, and how they can use them effectively, safely and securely. CEOs should be digital evangelists and seen to be proactively following the corporate digital social guidelines.
CEOs should also be mindful of treating their staff well, both online and offline otherwise, they could leave with a bad feeling which could resonate online. This should be encouraged across the whole business.
Your employees are your business advocates, they can be your PR team, and they can spread positive – or negative – words about you. By treating them well, there’s a good chance they will do the same back.