10 Social Media Ground Rules for Small-Cap CEOs

2 minute read

10 Social Media Ground Rules for Small-Cap CEOs


Social media is a vexing landscape for senior executives.  There can be material benefits, but also equally daunting risks.  As is evident from the fact that many Fortune 500 leaders don’t partake, there are no right answers.

For those small-cap CEOs who are so inclined, they should consider these 10 suggestions, offered through an investors’ lens.

  1.  Every company should have a social media policy, and CEOs need to follow it.
  2.  Schedule all posts in advance using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, so that legal, compliance, and marketing et al. have a chance to approve every post.
  3.  If you have any doubt whether any social media post is a good idea, don’t post it.
  4.  To minimize risk, it’s probably best to limit postings to “channels” like LinkedIn and Twitter, where it’s commonly accepted for CEOs to communicate.
  5.  The subject matter of posts should be confined to core business matters only; i.e., there’s very little upside to posting about sports, family, religion, current events, politics, or humor (and quite a bit of downside).
  6.  Stick to positive thoughts and developments (i.e., avoid speaking poorly or sarcastically about people, products, or companies).
  7.  Don’t “share,” “retweet,” or “like” anything that violates suggestions five and six.
  8.  Some CEOs have found Twitter, for example, to be a terrific forum for responding directly to customers and investors. Prior to so engaging, consider reaching out to one of those CEOs to ask them what they’ve learned from that form of engagement, and what kinds of processes they’ve put in place to manage those risks.  Thereafter, you might consider discussing the risks and benefits of that direct engagement with your board of directors, to field their questions and concerns before traveling that path.
  9.  Think through everything thoroughly first, because deleting social media posts is not a cure all.
  10.  If you post more than a few times a week, rest assured that investors will be thinking: “I wonder who is actually running the business?”

These 10 suggestions aren’t comprehensive guidelines by any measure.  That said, when a CEO makes a material social media mistake, they’ve likely violated one of them.