My son’s favorite saying right now is that something–anything really–happens “like a boss.” He brushes his teeth like a boss. He plays video games like a boss. And I’m old now, so I think to myself, I’m already a boss, what does that mean for my toothbrushing? What does that mean for my tweeting? Do I tweet like a boss?
And surprisingly, there’s an answer for that last one. I apparently don’t tweet like a boss. Not a boss like my son says, but a real boss. A CEO or Commissioner. One study showed that less than 2% of Fortune 500 CEO’s tweet. Let’s try to guess how many local and state government Commissioners (not politicians) do.
And that’s a real shame because there are definite benefits to being present on social media. (And remember, we’re talking about the big guy and gal, NOT our agencies. I
think hope that issue has been settled by now.)
1. It’s refreshing to read unscripted content, ideas and opinions from today’s corporate leaders. (They’re leaders for a reason.)
2. There is less risk of a PR crisis for the executive and his or her company. (Well, less risk than an intern being the voice of the company or agency.)
3. It’s good practice for CEOs, CMOs, CFOs and Managers looking to connect directly with consumers and learn future behavioral trends.
But it’s not all day-to-day and tweeting during corporate lunches. Civil service executives (read: brass) have seen some real benefits from holding the Twitter reins, especially during emergencies. At the recent #NCRSMEM conference, I got the special chance to hear Boston PD Deputy Commissioner John Daley speak about one of his major roles during the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt.
What’s unique about Boston Police is how completely their executives have embraced Twitter, and Deputy Commissioner Daley is at the forefront. The best example is the following; one of the single most retweeted tweets ever, and it was sent literally SECONDS after the arrest was made:
Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area. Stand by for further info.—
Boston Police Dept. (@Boston_Police) April 20, 2013
How the heck did it get approved that quickly? Why wasn’t the Incident Commander informed first, how were the five levels of approval gone through so fast? Simple, because it was sent by the Incident Commander. Because the sender was also the approver.
Now think about your executive. Would they ever do that? If not, why not? Do they relish a lag in releasing information? They like to be second or thousandth? Or do they not care who is the voice of the agency and would rather some lackey speak for them? Or do they not think that actually representing their agency to the world is important enough?
I think that each one of those cases would merit a very special discussion about priorities and goals for your organization.
I’m also interested in what other reasons you’ve heard for why your executive can’t tweet. Leave me a comment below with your best excuses!