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Executive Search Trends: 4 Ways Social Media Redefines Executive Presence

Executive Search Trends: 4 Ways Social Media Redefines Executive Presence

April 2021


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Tech platforms like Clubhouse, Discord, and TikTok create new opportunities for branding content and marketing

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev recently spent almost an hour being grilled by Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, over the GameStop trading debacle as Tenev tried to reset the conversation around his company’s decision to pause trading. And the whole thing was just a conversation on Clubhouse, the invite-only audio platform.

While there are a number of factors that contribute to the success of an executive’s career — and a genuine social media presence is already important — emerging platforms are shaping and impact the role of executives and their branding in ways that have never been seen before.

Familiar platforms like Twitter are also creating competitive new products like Twitter Spaces. Hyper-focused platforms like Discord, which previously focused on gamers, are attracting new types of content and marketing. Meanwhile, TikTok has exploded for younger users and creative video creators. The podcasting industry still has room to grow, too, as new formats and concepts become available and content becomes more audience focused.

With the increase in social media use during the pandemic, these emerging platforms have exploded in popularity despite their young age, providing an excellent opportunity to harness these new platforms in developing a broader presence and brand as a leader. Additionally, they all bring different ways to build a robust digital presence that extends far beyond the reach of traditional networking platforms.

Having an understanding of these new platforms and how they can be harnessed for driving professional and business goals can give executives in any field an edge in their work and careers.

Here are four ways that executives can make the most of them.

Becoming a Thought Leader

Although thought leadership is often defined by blog posts, conferences, panels, and industry events, there is a growing segment of executives who are using platforms like Clubhouse to grow their presence. In essence, rooms are created with designated speakers who focus on a particular topic or issue. The rooms can be public or private, and users scroll down the ‘hallway’ to decide which room they will listen in on.

Clubhouse focuses on audio, which is what makes it so popular. It also has a wider appeal thanks to not being industry specific. Only certain people are granted speaker privileges, giving leaders from around the world the chance to co-host or join exclusive rooms. In addition, the real-time conversations have produced an emphasis on high-value content over produced content, which is great for executives looking to build thought leadership as an expert.

Tech leaders like former Twitter CEO Ev Williams, Reddit co-Founder Alexis Ohanian, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, and Tesla’s Elon Musk are among the top users of Clubhouse as they blaze new trails in leadership, branding, marketing, and social presence.

Reaching New Audiences with Video

Increasingly, people are interested in learning more about what it’s like to work at an organization and what life is like for employees at higher levels. Social media platforms like TikTok and Twitter Spaces can be used to show what the culture is like at a company — especially while companies are spread out and working from home.

Executives and other employees can film videos of their lives, their home office setups, and their daily routines to show potential employees what it means to work there. A recent Twitter user survey showed that 80% of respondents want brands to show how they’re supporting their employees, and sharing content about company culture through video is a great example.


of respondents want brands to show how they’re supporting their employees

With the digitalization of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, many argue that live streams will remain popular and serve as a great way to personalize video. Content that is developed from live streaming will be an integral way to expand that presence and reach new audiences through emerging formats, and executives can really lead the conversation online.

Getting comfortable filming yourself can be challenging, but there’s a whole subset of content available to help people become more at ease on camera. On LinkedIn, for example, users share advice, behind-the-scenes videos, and live recordings of podcast episodes — creating a veritable community of the “how-tos” of effectively utilizing video.

Repurposing Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is content that remains relevant and is not time sensitive. This type of content is useful for saving time and repurposing content into other segments. For example, a blog post can become a series of TikTok explainer videos, a podcast episode, or a Clubhouse topic. In this way, executives can reduce their need to produce new content on a busy schedule.

A recent study showed that, alongside transparency, audience engagement is paramount in a brand’s social media presence. The same can be true of an executive’s online presence, and repurposing content across platforms is a great way to increase engagement.

The pandemic seems to have normalized the harder parts of life, and users are increasingly looking to see the personal side of content. Beware though of reposting or repurposing content too frequently, as it may detract from the expertise that followers and viewers are looking for. This is especially true on platforms like Clubhouse where users are looking for a new and unique content experience — not a prewritten speech. 

Driving Empathy and Inclusion

In the Twitter survey, 77% of respondents agreed they feel more positively about brands making an effort to support society at the moment while 86% said brands should support vulnerable people in their community.

Social media platforms like Clubhouse and Discord could benefit from executives who champion inclusion in digital interactions. With the executive’s social presence representing an important part of a company’s brand, there is value championing inclusion online. An Accenture study found that 29% of all shoppers would switch to a brand that’s committed to inclusivity and diversity.

As a shift to personal transparency continues, showing parts of life about which employees are passionate is becoming a key selling point for brands. But it comes with a heightened responsibility as the content put out by leaders is under heavy scrutiny by both employees and consumers. 

Executives will have to decide which platforms are right for them and how each platform can contribute to their personal brand — as well as the organization they represent. Older platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn may still play a key role in a robust online presence for executives as they post and share content, but having a sense of what is happening with new and emerging technologies is a helpful start for leaders trying to evolve their digital brand.

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