The dialogue for information sharing has dramatically changed in the past decade. Because of social media and smartphones, people are now connecting with individuals, celebrity and professional, on networking platforms delivering content directly to the user.
Business2Business and Business2Consumer marketers have turned a new page in marketing strategy by utilizing "online influencers" to expand brands, reach new followers, and generate new revenue. For those businesses engaging in this influencer marketing, the payout has typically proven successful.
How can the mining industry begin establishing its own online influencers? Lets start at the top with mining CEOs.
CEOs of mining companies and organizations already provide tremendous influence in the progression of the industry. We appreciate their insights and perspectives on the direction the industry is heading. We even pay good money to listen to them speak in public forums.
What we rarely see, however, is their public or professional presence in terms of workforce engagement, public outreach or company news.
This is not to say they are ignoring social media networks all together. Instead, many CEOs with social accounts are underutilizing them.
Other than financial reports and investor relations, CEOs in the mining industry have appeared to be behind the curtain of external relations and public outreach. We see them talking about social licensing and community relations, but we rarely see them participating in it.
Social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great tools for CEOs to expand company outreach and organizational branding. In turn, it also provides a great insight into who those individuals really are. Think of it as increasing professional liquidity and the mining company is the main benefactor.
Lessons from the Tech Industry
Remember, people love connecting with other people, even if it is an indirect relationship provided by Twitter. A great example would be Apple CEO Tim Cook and his Twitter account.
If you study the CEO's Twitter feed, you will see his content is sharing the uplifting experiences of being CEO for one of the largest tech giants in the world. Its a glimpse of his engagement with Apple colleagues and public outreach.
Ultimately, Mr. Cook also caries the values and culture of his company into his online communications as well.
Likewise, Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman turns to Facebook to communicate with more than 200K followers. She will post photos from company events, post videos from speaking engagements and share company news directly to her network. Ms. Whitman also appears to take a little time out of her day to reply to some of the responses in those posts.
Where to Start
Here are some very quick tips to begin your mining industry CEO's social media journey:
1. Be Personable. Remember to be human and relatable.
2. Communicate Corporate Values. You should be a direct reflection of your company's culture.
3. Engage with your Audience. If you have five minutes a day, go to your social media account and respond to a few posts. This will pay dividends in brand reputation.
4. Be Proud about What You Do. You know the benefits of your company expand well outside the perimeters of your mine site. Let people know of this value through interpersonal dialogue.
End of an Era
The era of mining CEOs remaining behind the curtains must come to an end. Mining industry executives must take lessons from other industry play books to learn how to progress reputation. Today, building trust with communities, local stakeholders and rapport with employees requires offering up a real, human face for the company brand. Social media represents one of the most powerful ways for mining CEOs to do this, efficiently and at scale.
After all, if social media is where your communities are, shouldn't you be as well?