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The Benefits Of A Socially-Savvy CEO

From the experts | Posted on July 22, 2013 by Eric Gardiner

Social media is helping Softchoice CEO David MacDonald build relationships across the organization, and beyond its borders.

Connecting with David MacDonald is as easy as sending him a tweet. MacDonald is part of the 18% of CEOs actively using social media.

“As a company, we have humility in our culture that encourages us to be receptive and listen to feedback,” says MacDonald. “Social media is a great vehicle for me to ensure we’re listening to all of our stakeholders – from customers and employees, to shareholders and vendors.”

Breaking down communications barriers
A recent article reports that social media is now seen as an essential tool for leadership communications. MacDonald views his daily use of social media as a critical way to break down communication barriers – internally and externally. He regularly uses social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up with the technology trends shaping his industry and uses them to connect with customers, business partners and media.

Inside the company, MacDonald uses the private enterprise social network Yammer to connect with Softchoice’s 1,200+ employees to share his personal insights and provide business updates.

The right tool for the right task
While he regularly tweets, MacDonald’s favourite social network is LinkedIn. It allows him to quickly find relevant information on business contacts that aren’t available anywhere else. It’s also the way he prefers to engage with his network of senior executives to scale and amplify the Softchoice story. MacDonald points out that Softchoice’s sales team regularly uses LinkedIn to identify and qualify prospects, which has increased their ability to earn new customer appointments.

While he believes that email is still the best tool for sending confidential and sensitive information for business, he now prefers the realtime nature of chat and text messaging for communicating with friends and family.

Staying on top of everything is key
While MacDonald actively (and personally) manages a number of social media profiles, he says that with the right tools, doing so doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Hootsuite has become a game changer in helping manage his various accounts, respond to comments, view retweets and track what people are saying about Softchoice on Twitter.

“Since Softchoice has made social media a part of our everyday communications, we’ve become much more aware of people’s feedback and comments about our organization,” says MacDonald. “It’s also created better teamwork within the company by allowing us to communicate in real time and share our tribal knowledge more effectively.”

MacDonald encourages all companies to use social media. “Try it out,” he says. “Look for opportunities to engage with people. The value of those relationships will grow – you just need to commit the time and energy to use the tools.”

@SoftchoiceDMAC Facts:

Joined Twitter: December 2011
Most used tag: #yam (allows him to automatically share tweets to the private Softchoice Yammer network)
5 favorite twitter accounts:
1. Michael Dell Chairman and CEO, Dell [@MichaelDell]
2. Aaron Levie, CEO, Box [@levie]
3. Jen Evans, CEO, Sequentia [@nejsnave]
4. Peter Aceto, CEO, ING direct Canada [@CEO_INGDIRECT]
5. Softchoice Corporate account [@Softchoice]

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