LinkedIn is the most important communication network in the digital space for the majority of DAX40 board members. Although heavy users are rather rare, 54% of DAX40 CEOs on LinkedIn are frequently using* their accounts to bring across corporate and increasingly personal and societal topics.
While LinkedIn communication has made its way to the boardrooms, its full potential is barely realized. In 35 of the 40 DAX40 boards, at least two-thirds of members have a digital presence, but only a handful of companies follow a systematic synchronization of their executive positioning. Looking at the enormous potential that a long-term Social Board positioning strategy could have with regards to the public overall perception of the company, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
The evolution of the Social Board
Social Boards require coordinated positioning and joint action
Current economic and political crises demand cohesive and coordinated communication at the board level. Major challenges can only be mastered as a joint management team. To become visible to the partial public of individual stakeholder groups, it is important to not only emphasize the strengths of individual board members but distribute topics and opinions among several executives at the same time.
Which features and criteria define a Social Board?
Overarching board strategy: Despite board members communicating through their accounts, an overarching framework for joint external communication should be defined. Particularly for events of special relevance, it is important to strategically distribute sub-topics with corresponding messages among the board members and to find an individual angle for the respective departments.
Individual angle: To professionalize the target group-oriented communication of Social Boards, board members must develop their own communication angle and define individual focus topics to reach stakeholders in their sub-public even more efficiently.
Joint dramaturgy: In addition to coordinating the content, the timing and chronology must also be coordinated. It should be clearly defined which board member will kick news off and how other players join the discussion. In this way, the topics gain traction and impact.
What are the dos and don’ts of digital board communication?
Define an overarching board strategy, coordinate activities closely, and establish a framework that sets the pace for all members while creating freedom for individual positioning.
Define focus topics for the individual board members to create a clear positioning in their stakeholder groups.
Prepare content and positions precisely for the target groups of the individual board members to convey their messages more sustainably.
Leverage relevant corporate events (such as strategic decisions or innovative developments) for board positioning and extend them into social media through individual board members' interactions and their focus topics.
Use the board members’ reach to highlight other experts within the company and build them up progressively (e.g., Ambassador Program and Corporate Influencer).
Personal positioning is important, but from a company’s perspective an orchestrated board positioning in line with the corporate strategy and focus topics should be the goal.
Too many (arbitrary) topics for individual board members reduce their proliferation and make differentiation within the executive board more difficult.
Several activities on different channels are not target oriented and might raise the question of priorities. Define in advance which channels are relevant for you to best reach your target groups.
A coordinated and orchestrated approach makes sense in many cases, but only if it fits in terms of content. Activities should not be orchestrated just for the sake of it.