D S Simon Media’s very own Kristina Doytchinova formerly of ABC News caught up with Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, at the Ragan Communications Facebook Leadership Communications Summit. They discussed the importance of turning your senior leaders into influencers, the qualities of a good corporate spokesperson and the importance of using video in executive communications. Check out the video below as well as some of Kristina’s key takeaways from the summit:
Five Key Takeaways from the Facebook Leadership Communications Summit by Kristina Doytchinova:
Mark Ragan’s VlogViews:
“Live video has become more important than ever. You are able to cover events and you are able to take advantage of your C-suite’s message live”
Mark: I’m great. Thank you for coming, Kristina.
Kristina: Thank you for having me. It’s been great. And we’re here at the Ragan Communications own Facebook Leadership Communications Summit here in Palo Alto, California, where we’ve been learning more about some tactics and best practices for leadership communications, including social media. That’s been a big focus of the talks. How important would you say it is for a C-suite level executive to have an online public social presence?
Mark: I don’t think it could be any more important than it is today. I wouldn’t have said that 10 years ago, maybe even five years ago. But today, think about the power and the reach of Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and Snapchat. I think, as a CEO myself, that you couldn’t do anything more impactful than be on social media today.
Mark: And I want to make it clear to your viewers that we often associate with social media like Facebook and Twitter with external communications. But I think that’s what’s unique about a platform like Facebook is that you can communicate to all stakeholders. And why is that? Well, is there any employee that you have out there that’s not on Facebook? Is there any employee at all who isn’t posting family pictures on Facebook? I mean, Facebook’s got what, 1.5 billion users? So the whole idea that we wouldn’t use that as a platform to communicate to our customers, our employees, our prospectors all at once makes no sense to me. And you’ve got CEOs like Meg Comstock from GE that recognize that right now and are actually using platforms like Facebook to communicate company messages to everyone at the same time.
Mark: So I think to answer your question, I think the CEOs, the senior leaders that are not on social media are really making a huge mistake. And most likely, it’s because it’s just not part of their DNA. They’re either my old age, and they just haven’t really made the switch over to social media.
Kristina: And another focus we were talking about in the conference was video, specifically live streaming video. What are the opportunities with live streaming video for leadership communication?
Mark: Video has never been more important than it is today. I doubt that any of your viewers out there, if I asked them, how many videos did you share this week, whether that’s your favorite scene from some Netflix movie that you’re binge watching, or whether it’s some incredibly poignant, goosebump-producing video from your local hospital, video is so incredibly important. And live video has become more important than ever because you are able now to cover events, to be able to take advantage of your C-suite’s message live.
Mark: And, of course, Facebook– we’re at Facebook for this conference. Facebook Live is incredibly important. I mean, if I’m a hospital and there’s a new breakthrough, say, in prostate cancer, I can get my surgeon in a moment’s notice to sit down and do a live broadcast to all of our Facebook people right away, with hardly any preparation.
Kristina: That’s pretty incredible.
Mark: Yeah, and so I see live video taking off. At Ragan, we’ve been doing live video for years. We live webcast all of our conferences. And it’s been an enormous differentiator for our company because so many people are behind the curve, and we take advantage of that. So all of our competitors, none of them are doing live video webcasts. So if you can do that, I think it’s a great plus.
Kristina: Absolutely. And lastly, a CEO is somewhat a spokesperson for their company. When they have an online social presence, they’re very much a spokesperson for whatever organization they’re representing. What would you say are the best qualities of a really great spokesperson?
Mark: Well, authenticity is number one. Oftentimes, you’ll have a lot of CEOs who want to be authentic, but they’re so uptight. You know this. DS Simon does this all the time. They’re so uptight, you put them in front of the camera, and suddenly, they don’t act like they normally act. They get stiffened up. They don’t know what to do with their– what do I do with my hands? Well, what do you normally do with your hands?
Mark: And so you have to teach these folks, if you’re an executive communicator, that what you really want to do is just be like you are at home. That’s the beauty of things Instagram and Facebook Live because if you’re a leader of a company, especially a company with tens of thousands of employees, I really do care about what you are doing with your family when you go to the park with your kids. That humanizes you, because all I see of you is this starchy guy who kind of looks constipated and is talking about the fourth quarter financial results. What I really want to see is that you’re just like me.
Mark: So I think that my coaching for CEOs would be, if you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, then do something like this. You, Kristina, you’re my executive communicator. Interview me like this so I’m looking at you and not at the camera, which makes it more natural.
Kristina: Well, thank you so much, Mark. I really appreciate it.
Mark: Thanks for coming.
Kristina: All right, thank you.