Although O2 isn’t a FTSE100 company (although with current turmoil in the telecoms sector, never say never), Ronan Dunne would be a top 5 #socialCEO. He’s an active user of a number of social channels, and in January 2014 he answered some of our questions about why…
Many of your Chief Executive peers seem to not be engaged with social channels. What do you think are the things that stop them?
Time is the obvious one. With a busy schedule, it can be difficult to take the time to share what I’m doing and engage with the wider social media sphere. But, as my customers and staff are using it I know I have to and want to be on it. Social media, both Twitter and Facebook, have become the customer service front-line in many cases for a lot of brands. It is really important that CEOs engage their social team to ensure that customer service and reputational issues are dealt with so they don’t feel the pressure of having to answer each and every comment.
How has being social network-connected changed the way in which you, as an executive, do business?
As a leading digital Telco, we have seen first-hand the explosive growth of social media through our customers’ use of smartphones. We’ve been on Twitter as @O2 since 2008. I’ve personally been on Twitter for several years. But 2011 was a breakthrough year for Twitter – and has become, in our view, central to how any business manages reputation and shares information with stakeholders, media and customers.
As a CEO, I have an important part to play in this engagement, and we think it’s the next step as a business committed to finding fresh ways to communicate, that I tweet in a professional capacity. The idea of my tweets from @ronandunneo2 is to give the inside track on life as a CEO, giving my views, opinions and experiences from the front-line of digital services. It should add to public understanding of what we do, why we do it, and how we do it as well as a sense of who I am personally.
We are a very open organisation and social media has proven to be a very powerful way to communicate and attain feedback from our employees. In many ways it’s me who has been catching up with O2 and our customers and I now use Yammer internally to stay in touch with everything going on around the business and Twitter to give everyone insight into what I am up to.
How could a FTSE CEO take their first steps into social networks?
Different businesses will address how best to utilise the CEO alongside the brand presence on social media. If a CEO is going to add value on social media, I feel they need to be contributing something only they personally could. In my case it’s the insider’s view of life as a CEO. I would recommend having a light touch approach to start and then as understanding builds, start getting more interactive in conversations.
I first got really involved on social media in 2011, before I joined I had the misconception that Twitter conversations weren’t going to be relevant to me. However, as I got involved I quickly realised that there were conversations from our customers and employees that were going on, and they were very relevant. I am now a confident user of Twitter, I check the app when I can during the day and always before I go to sleep at night.
If I could presume to offer one piece of advice – if your going to take the plunge of course get advice and support but always insist that tweets are your own and in your tone of voice – after all you would never allow a press release to go out in your name without signing it off – would you!