Social media and the CFO
19 July 2016 | Minutes to read: 4

Social media and the CFO

By William Buck

While social media was once seen as the domain of the marketing team, the growth of social media and the benefits it delivers means it is now – more than ever – vital for CFOs to have an online presence.

The Social C Suite ‚Äì a blog that encourages CEOs, CFOs and CXOs to embrace the “social age” ‚Äì says social media is now the “#1 thing people do online ‚Äì more than using search engines”.

The blog further explains that social media is an “amazing way to listen, gain market insights, assess risks and scan the horizon,” which makes it a great way to for the C-suite to pick up on industry and business trends.

Matilda Rutter, Digital Analyst at Adelaide-based brand and communication agency, FULLER, said enhancing a CFO’s position as a thought leader, building their personal profile, and connecting with clients and peers, are all clear benefits of being active on social media.

“Facebook is the largest growing advertising platform in the world, the fastest growing Twitter audiences are those in the 55-64 age group, and LinkedIn connects more than 433 million professionals and businesses across the globe ‚Äì there are far more business people on social media than you think,” she said.

“Being a thought leader in your field is a great way to connect with clients, future employees and your industry as a whole.

“Writing and publishing your own informed (and well researched) blog, and sharing it with a targeted audience on social media, is the best way to do this.

“When CFOs aren’t publishing their own opinions they should share news from their company, articles with similar viewpoints to theirs, and the latest information pertaining to their sector.”

The prominence of this idea was highlighted in Leadtail’s 2015 report, Social Insights: CFO Edition, which revealed that 42% of the top 100 content sources shared by CFOs were from business, tech and finance sites.

“These sites play an important role in defining the conversations finance execs have with their boss (CEOs), peers, and internal teams. These sites help CFOs keep current with both broader business trends and issues impacting corporate finance,” the report stated.

To ensure you stay ahead of the pack, it’s vital to understand and identify which social media platforms will best serve you and your business, by deciphering the way audiences use and interact with different platforms ‚Äì whether they be Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

“LinkedIn is the suit and tie of the social media world, whereas Facebook and Twitter are the casual Friday,” Matilda said.

“LinkedIn is purely for business development and career building, so it’s more of a professional environment, while Facebook and Twitter push the boundaries a little more, allowing people to use less formal language and to share more entertaining content.”

Matilda said the ability for CFOs to write and publish their own articles on LinkedIn ‚Äì whether it’s a few paragraphs or a 1000-word blog ‚Äì sets the platform apart from Facebook and Twitter.

“LinkedIn has recently undergone a suite of improvements and updates to improve its content sharing power providing a greater opportunity for CFOs to establish themselves as thought leaders,” she said.

Anna Lewis, Manager of Global Marketing at Black & Veatch, explains that LinkedIn has recently rolled out a new interface that allows for multiple options when sharing a message to your connections.

“The option ‚Äòshare an update’ is more for simple, short messages. This is usually a function you would use if you want to share a link with some brief commentary,” she said.

“The other option is¬†‚Äòpublish a post’. This section is reserved for longer posts (a couple of paragraphs or more) or even full blog posts.”

Matilda said the ability to link yourself with your company and connect with other business people is another valuable feature of LinkedIn.

Whether it is on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, Matilda recommends that CFOs follow other CFOs, companies, government bodies and leaders within their industry.

If you’re looking to embrace social media but not quite sure where to start, here are Matilda’s top tips for CFOs.

  • Set company guidelines for social media ‚Äì your employees are your best company advocates in the social media space, however, defining what should and shouldn’t be shared with connection to the company is crucial to avoid any social media mishaps.
  • Use it as an educational tool ‚Äì Many CFOs out there are publishing and sharing useful, credible content relating to your industry on social media. By following or connecting with CFOs you consider to be thought leaders, you will be privy to the latest information and trends relating to your industry. In turn, if you have something to say and share, why not become a thought leader yourself?
  • Keep it authentic ‚Äì it’s no good having a huge Twitter following if what you’re putting out there doesn’t reflect your unique story, or the values of your business. People identify with authenticity, so invite them into your world and your way of thinking and you’ll be rewarded for it. It’s also one of the quickest and easiest ways to connect. When it comes to authenticity it’s also important to keep in mind the relevance of the platform you’re using, there’s no need to go on Instagram or Snapchat if that’s not where your peers are. Stick to platforms you engage with and you’ll end up speaking to the right people.
  • Keep it simple and updated ‚Äì stick to one or two core social media platforms and don’t attempt to be active on them all. It’s best to have a regularly updated profile, then a lot of inactive ones. There is also a fear within the C-suite that social media posts take a considerable amount of time, which isn’t true. You are already reading articles that relate to your industry; so half the work is already done. The next step is to write a post – one-two sentences – on your thoughts of the article, which will only take a few minutes.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of social media ‚Äì statistics show that many of today’s CFOs are highly active on social media. The following infographic displays figures from a study of 500 top CFO’s social media accounts, over a four-month period.


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