An Executive's Guide to Building an Effective Social Media Presence

Barb Siegel

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How important is social media to the business professional?  At Lake Forest Graduate School of Management we have invested in expanding our social media outreach in order to further develop the connection between our faculty, students and alumni.  At Lake Forest, we understand the potential of digital networking.

Is it important for an Executive to establish themselves professionally through social media?  In the past many business leaders have simply engaged in the minimum required presence by creating profiles and perhaps some portfolio items on LinkedIn.   In fact, LinkedIn at its inception, was little more than a place to park your curriculum vitae, but has in the last three years become a powerful networking tool and business community.  It is now a place to share articles, comments and stimulate discussion on current news and business trends.

If you are pondering what the minimum requirement should be for a successful business leader on social media, consider what many C-level executives model in their own digital marketing.  It is true that a Manager is not a product, but your expertise and skills are a unique brand that should be marketed in a similar way for a variety of professional reasons and opportunities.   We are going to discuss  ‘why’ and ‘how’ an executive should invest the time in developing their social media presence and give you some tips to establishing your own professional reputation online.

Establishing Your Thought Leadership

Credentials (including your MBA) speak volumes to the caliber of your value as an experienced business professional.  However, in order to maintain that knowledge base you must invest time in keeping up to date with your industry, changes and advances in technology and methods as well as other key points of discussion.   What are the people who are “in the know” about your industry discussing?  Are you contributing to those online conversations?

LinkedIn is an excellent way to demonstrate your thought leadership and innovation online.  By joining groups within LinkedIn that cater to your niche market, product or service you will connect with other business leaders in the same sector.  Discussions on LinkedIn (whether you start your own or contribute to an existing thread of forum conversation) are a valuable opportunity to showcase your expertise.  When you provide your opinion, links or supporting articles and share them with your colleagues you are not only sharing insightful knowledge but you are demonstrating an interest in your profession as well as the development of others in your field.

Content aggregate software such as ScoopIt allows you to create a personalized topic using keywords.  If you don’t have time to go looking for relevant content daily let the software assist you by providing a list of articles, blog posts, whitepapers and multimedia publications for sharing within your networks.   While there are many options for content aggregates, ScoopIt can  be connected to your Twitter, Facebook and your LinkedIn account.  When you find an article you would like to share, at the push of a button you can share it on all your networks simultaneously.  It is an effective, time conserving method to find relevant industry news, read it and share and comment.

If you are an Executive that is constantly informed on changes within your industry, demonstrating your expertise by adding your insight or professional commentary, you will position yourself online as an authority in your field.   As these articles appear in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS) so too will instances of your name appear on Google associated with quality, timely review and content in your business niche.

How to Choose the Right Social Networks

Depending on your business specialty there are a variety of different approaches to building a professional presence on social media.   Which networks should you choose and how often should you be posting on them?

  • LinkedIn contributions should be a minimum of 1-2 industry articles per week.  Place a comment to introduce the article and add your personal insights regarding the topic matter.   Don’t forget to ‘Like’ the posts of your colleagues or other members in your network and share if you find their content engaging and relevant.    Treat LinkedIn as an interactive, conversational business community.


  • Twitter is a fast paced social network that is ideal for gleaning relevant articles, conversations about trending business topics and much more.   It is an excellent information resource.  Aim to contribute as often as possible (posts are limited to 145 characters) and use #hashtags to flag your comment and connect with other business leaders.    Share your activities and learning, as well as day-to-day professional highlights.


  • Establish a professional business page on Facebook.   Post 2-3 times per week and utilize #hashtags to connect with a larger audience.


The Importance of Regular Content Contribution to Social Networks

Remember that creating a social profile and tooling it with your credentials and links is only one part of establishing a credible social media presence.  If you have created accounts but failed to engage on those networks, it is better to delete inactive pages or profiles rather than have them malinger with an absent author.  It creates a negative impression whenever someone has an inactive account or multiple inactive accounts.

A viable option for many busy professionals is to outsource assistance with social media management.  If it is important to have a consistent presence on your social networks, and to continue to look for information and new business opportunities, you can opt to have someone post these information articles on your behalf.

Whether you are a current or past  student or a prospective one, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management  wants to hear your opinion!  Let’s talk about social media and its value for contemporary business executives.  Leave your comment about the role it plays in your professional networking. Connect with Lake Forest Graduate School of Management on Facebook and LinkedIn.


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Barbara L. Siegel

Director of Marketing


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