Social Media Communications that Executives Ignore

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When it comes to social media communications with business executives, I heed the Law of Diminishing Returns; the longer the message, the less likely it will receive feedback.  I know this is true because of all the social media messages that I ignore.

You’d think that the people besieging busy executives and major influencers with long messages, some with very good ideas, would learn this by now.  But they don’t.

It might be that they think a long message will impress the reader, it doesn’t.  Or that their request needs to be explained in detail because the reader is already hooked, they aren’t.  Or that the length will convince the executive of its importance, that is not the case.

Length isn’t the only reason messages don’t receive feedback.  Here are three more:

  1. Asking the executive to do too much. If you require the recipient to do too much you have a good chance of getting ignored.  Asking the executive to “check out our website and let us know if you have questions” sounds like “please read our novel and write a book report for us.”  Asking a busy decision maker to figure out your solution and value proposition is too much work.  Make your initial requests simple ones, and make the requests about them, not about you.
  2. Many people are too logical and data-driven. They organize their communications with facts and figures as if those numbers are all the proof that is needed.  Their dialogue has no storyline or emotion present.  Humans, including executives, are built for a good story, without one you will probably not grab or hold their attention.  Remember, we may make decisions intellectually, but we buy based on emotions.
  3. Your credentials are not readably apparent, which is to say your social profile is weak. You’ve reached out to contact the executive through a social channel (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) which means they can instantly peruse your background.  Is your profile picture professional looking?  Is your bio information executive-level compelling?  First impressions are important and they are lasting.  You generally won’t get a second chance.  That means your social profile needs to look trustworthy at a glance.

Of course this strategy doesn’t necessarily apply to all audiences.  Different people need to be communicated with in different ways about the same subjects.  In general though, there’s no percentage in boring a CXO with nuts-and-bolts details in your initial communication.

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