Gini Dietrich

The Dos and Don’ts of Executive Social Media

By: Gini Dietrich | June 2, 2011 | 
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It’s Facebook question of the week time (clap, clap, clap)! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a real video question and I have a special treat for you.

We’re going to have a lesson in how to say my name.

That’s right…you’re going to learn how to say my name!

Well, I also sing a song. On video. I’m pretty sure it can be missed so you can fast forward to :40.

And now on with the show (if you can’t see the video in your feed, click here and it’ll magically appear)!

Jennifer Dooley asks,

I’m wondering if you could share your big DOs and DON’Ts for executives (not sure my CEO needs a blog). Also, do you have any good, bad, and the ugly in terms of executive social media examples you might be willing to share? I know it’s asking a lot, but if you can share, I’d be sooo happy!

I answer the first part of the question in the video and also open it up to you to answer.

And, I promised to provide some links to the good, bad, and the ugly in terms of executive social media examples.

The Good: I am a big fan of what Tony Hsieh did with Twitter in 2008, as Zappos built their brand and prepped for the Amazon acquisition. There are some examples of other good use by executives in this blog post by Beth Kanter.

The Bad: While it’s not an executive, exactly, I think the way the BP executives handled the entire oil spill, from their CEO saying he just wanted to go back to normal and get back on his yacht to the fake BP news Twitter account was poorly managed.

The Ugly: Kenneth Cole, hands down, gets this award from me. He fell flat on his face when he used the uprising in Egypt to promote his spring collection. Ugly, ugly news.

Now I leave it to you. What are the dos and don’ts for executives on social media? And what are some examples you can cite?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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109 Comments on "The Dos and Don’ts of Executive Social Media"

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BestRoofer
BestRoofer
4 years 11 months ago

Great singing Gini. I don’t think that I would try that, but it came off really well when you did it. It got a standing ovation in the office. Well I’m the only one here, but it was good.

KenMueller
KenMueller
4 years 11 months ago

@BestRoofer i can picture you standing in your office doing that, Joe. Wish we had video of that. And I haven’t watched this video yet. I think I’ll watch it with Shadow on the porch in just a bit.

bdorman264
bdorman264
4 years 11 months ago
Huh, I’m from down south; your name was easy to pronounce we just might draw it out longer. Now it might sound like Gin’a’, but we are saying Gini………….:). Two schools of thought about executives being involved in social media. One being, they should be familiar with it but don’t necessarily have to be the day to day guy. However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with them being actively engaged especially if they are the face of the company and if they are not neglecting the operations. This still comes down to time (precious time) and what am… Read more »
Yael Rozencwajg
4 years 11 months ago

Gini Gini Gini, what are we gonna do with you ?!!Gertrude fits you sooooo well 😀

faybiz
4 years 11 months ago

I know you said it but now you have to work on the last name… get that in a song and we’ll be impressed

JodiEchakowitz
JodiEchakowitz
4 years 11 months ago

Gini, you crack me up! I think I’ve got to follow your lead and do the same thing to get people pronouncing my last name correctly :)

KenMueller
KenMueller
4 years 11 months ago
Great post and video, Gertie! I confess I pronounced it like Jeannie at first, so I still have a hard time getting it right because it’s stuck in my head. As for the content of your post (content?? who needs content???) But good advice. Most of my clients are small businesses so the top person IS the face of the company, and I find I have to remind them of that. When they use social media, even just their facebook page, they need to be more personable, and not just “a” generic voice. Also working with one non-profit whose exec.… Read more »
KenMueller
KenMueller
4 years 11 months ago

oh, and in case you were wondering, my name is pronounced “Hank”. the “Ken” is actually silent.

DonnaLehman
DonnaLehman
4 years 11 months ago
Engaging way to begin your Q&A, particularly as it suits your personality/brand. As to the question posed: like many questions, the answer is ‘it depends’. You and others leaving comments note that depending upon the culture, the executive, their passion, experience and experience with engagement, it could work beautifully, or be less than stellar (even catastrophic for company image. I’ll leave one good example: when you have a CEO who has built up a positive reputation as a thought leader/innovator/expert in their field, people want to hear their thoughts – so having them blog or e-newsletters or tweet could make… Read more »
EricaAllison
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller Just laughed out my scone!

KenMueller
KenMueller
4 years 11 months ago

@EricaAllison Does that mean your scone came outta your nose???

EricaAllison
4 years 11 months ago

So loved that song! I think I pronounce your name correctly…I’ll use it in a video and you can tell me for sure.

Re: your list in the post – all right on! I’m still amazed at Tony Heyward and his poor choice of words…even more at the fact that BP has made no visible efforts since then to put real PR into place that would build up the image of BP, rather than just let it be because, well, they can. Shame on them.

EricaAllison
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller No, just crumbled out of my mouth. Thank goodness I’m alone. Not pretty.

CristerDelaCruz
CristerDelaCruz
4 years 11 months ago

“Embraced” from the top? Is that the word you were looking for?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@BestRoofer This made me LOL! Thanks for the standing O!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller Did Shadow give me a standing O?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@bdorman264 I agree with you – the edict needs to come from the top down, but the executives aren’t necessarily the ones who need to use it. I think too much access is detrimental to one’s business. Even I’m learning that lesson, but I am addicted so I’m not going to be stopping.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@Yael Rozencwajg Gertrude?!?! You and johnfalchetto are killing me! LOL! Funny story for both of you. Growing up, I couldn’t understand why they named me Gini instead of Ginny. It was really painful as a child. The first time I was in Paris, about 15 years ago, I was sitting in a sidewalk cafe. On the menu, under drinks was GINI. What?!? As you know, it’s like our Sprite. And my mom spent two years abroad in France in college. She won’t admit it, but I KNOW she named me after a soda pop in France.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@faybiz The last name isn’t as painful for me if someone says it wrong. It’s like Marlena Dietrich…Deetrick. I’ll have to think about how to get it in a song!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@JodiEchakowitz Your last name is painful…as we’ve discussed! You should do the same, minus the singing. That was such an automatic thing I didn’t even think about it.

johnfalchetto
4 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich Much much worse things to be named after :) @Yael Rozencwajg

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller The Ken is silent?! I’m glad I wasn’t eating a scone when I read that!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller I absolutely agree in small business the owner HAS to take an active role. And I’ll answer to Gertie if you answer to Hank.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@DonnaLehman Totally agree, Donna! It has to suit their personality and they have to be good at it. Not unlike being the spokesperson, speaking on behalf of the company, or even doing employee roundtables. It’s just another venue for communication.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@EricaAllison I think you do because I would have sent you a private note after your first video and corrected you if not. :) Shame on BP is right!

Lisa Gerber
4 years 11 months ago

@KenMueller hahahahahahaha!

CristerDelaCruz
CristerDelaCruz
4 years 11 months ago
“Embraced” from the top? Is that the word you were looking for? Greate video, esp. the song! As in any new business practice or change from the norm (at least in corporate settings), that top-down buy-in seems to be what makes things flow smoother (heck, that’s why they’re the CEOs, right?). Convincing C-suite executives that social media will work for *them* is different from convincing them that it will work for the organization. With that said, one also has to keep in mind how the C-execs can (or should they) fit into the social media strategy.I think this is where… Read more »
faybiz
4 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich ah my wife had to come to grips with our last name.

I will now always say to myself “gertie diet-rich”

EricaAllison
4 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich @KenMueller And so the food discussion for today begins…

KenMueller
KenMueller
4 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich No. He just licked himself.

ryancox
ryancox
4 years 11 months ago

I asked 10 questions, and you didn’t pick any of them. I’m revolting GIN-e.

Sean McGinnis
4 years 11 months ago

Sanctioned? Directed? Is that word your were searching for Jeannie?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@ryancox Revolt away. There is a long line of people in front of you. I’ll get to you

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@Sean McGinnis I hate you.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@CristerDelaCruz Noooo. I don’t think that’s what I wanted. I still can’t think of it. And I agree with everything you’ve said here. Good thing, huh?! :)

Courtney Engle
Courtney Engle
4 years 11 months ago

I like company leaders participating in social media, but I also think it isn’t just a do or don’t participate. They absolutely should claim their account, preventing squatters from moving in. I also think it really depends upon the person to know if they have the tech skills, time, and understand social networking enough.

Sean McGinnis
4 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich I’m sorry, Gina, I can’t hear you screaming from way over here on Dearborn….

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@faybiz LMAO!!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@Sean McGinnis Hate. You.

Sean McGinnis
4 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich Nice song by the way Jenny.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlfq8ytWpxY

Sean McGinnis
4 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich For a good time call 867-5309!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@Courtney Engle Totally agree. And if they participate, they must do so. None of this get out there, realize how hard it is, and then stop.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 11 months ago

@Sean McGinnis Hate. You.

Sean McGinnis
4 years 11 months ago

@DonnaLehman It depends is almost always the best answer. Love it! :)

patrickreyes
patrickreyes
4 years 11 months ago

Who are you again?

NancyD68
4 years 11 months ago

i was waiting for you to sing “Say My Name” THAT would have been hilarious! Anyway…executives do silly stuff all the time – for example they may “like” porn stars on Facebook. (ugh!)

Or..maybe they need their phone taken away from them if they have been drinking. One drunken (or angry) Tweet can destroy your business. It can and does happen.

On the plus side, there are great executives who understand how important community is, and do their best to encourage that. It must come from up top, as Gini pointed out.

CristerDelaCruz
CristerDelaCruz
4 years 11 months ago

@ginidietrich Yup, good thing. Funny, as I was watching the video, I was wracking (is that how you spell it?) my brain for words that might fit.

DHLasker
DHLasker
4 years 11 months ago

Hey Virginia… just trying to Train myself to sing it. Now, what was the question?

Lisa Gerber
4 years 11 months ago

@CristerDelaCruz I guess that makes you a better person because my only reaction was to BURST out laughing when she did that. @ginidietrich

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
4 years 11 months ago
Can I add what Tony Hsieh did after the Amazon Acquisition needs to be a case study in taking the money and running. Don’t care about your brand and pimp your book story? When I joined Twitter and got into it in Summer 2009 Zappos was one of the first Brands I followed. They had this aura of so many followers (1 million!). And guess what. In 5 months I saw a tweet for a Zappo’s potluck video to showcase most unhealthiest food contest and non-stop promotion of his book. Never saw anything about Zappos, community etc in my stream… Read more »
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