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If your executive tells you they have no time for social media, tell them to wake up to reality.

I’ll let you into a secret. Every executive has time for social media. Successful social media can be achieved in as little as five minutes. I often hear “I am far too busy for social media” or “I don’t have the time for all that back patting”. The reality is social can be achieved in as little as five minutes.

Here is how you take the effort out of social media: Start small.


Don’t try to be everywhere at once. Begin with Twitter and blogging.


For Twitter you only have to write 140 characters and some of those will be used up by hash tags (#).


Twitter is a great business tool and a convenient way to build relationships with people you would not normally come into contact with.


You can see which conversations are happening, which topics are trending and get a realistic view of the state of the nation. By watching what your peers are saying, you can start conversations with a not yet but soon to be customer.

Blogging is a perfect platform to get your message out there.  When you suggest your boss should write their own blog this usually makes them shift uncomfortably in their seat.


I’ll let you into another secret – this can also be done effortlessly.

There are more mobile devices than toothbrushes on the planet so I assume your executive has one. These devices have a voice record function.

Simply ask your executive a question and allow them to answer by speaking into the voice recorder for one minute (maximum two).

The recording can then be uploaded as an audio blog or it can be typed up and posted. Either way you see that your executive needs less than three minutes to supply content for the blog.

During my time as Oliver Bussmann’s communication lead we found it effective to block 30 minutes per month for blogging on his calendar. We would record a number of blogs (internal and external) in one sitting and upload them on a weekly basis. However, you do not actually need to be present. Your executive can also complete this task on the fly whilst sitting in a traffic jam, waiting at the airport or in between meetings.

It is important to stay authentic. It doesn’t matter if your executive stutters or messes up their lines; it just makes them more authentic. If you upload as an
audio blog employees/customers hear that these words are coming from their executive instead of from the communications department. 


If your executive doesn’t want to do podcasts, interview them instead. Upload the interview in your name. Always say no to ghostwriting.


Once your executive has blogged it can be shared via Twitter. And this is where the magic starts. If your message is well received this could lead to media interviews and great coverage for your brand.


If you blog don’t forget to monitor comments. One of the most important but often forgotten areas of social media is the comments box. Experience has shown that the comments box can sometimes be more powerful than the blog itself.

Make sure your executive answers the comments. It is fine to inform your executive that
action is required but do not allow yourself to fall into the “let me write that for you trap”. 

Here are the key points:

  • Don’t try to be everywhere at once.
  • Start with Twitter (140 characters)
  • Say no to ghostwriting
  • Record your boss via voice recorder and upload as a podcast
  • Instead of ghostwriting, interview your boss. Upload the interview in your name.
  • Keep it authentic


Let me know how you get on.

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  • Excellent advice Anita, and having followed your work with Oliver Bussman (who won a number of awards and was named Social CIO of the year during his time at SAP under your guidance) and other executives, anyone who doesn’t listen, really does need to wake up! You are the best executive comms expert I have ever met without doubt! Keep up the great work!

  • Hi Anita,

    well put!

    I think ghostwriting is definitely not a proper way to address the challenges in today’s economy – definitely not from a long-term perspective! With the rise of the social buyer and the collaborative economy it’s more crucial than ever to have authentic (!!!) people representing your company/brand. People don’t trust in companies, but eventually they will trust people. People who they know, because they have engaged with them over a long period of time – maybe even via social media and (micro-) blogging.

    Executives who say they do not have the time for “back patting” miss the point altogether. Sadly, too many people still believe that social media is just an additional channel to broadcast their marketing message. WRONG!

    Social media is much more about listening about the concerns, worries and opinions of customers, partners, influencers and peers and engaging in these conversations! If you don’t participate in these conversations (which are happen with or without you) you put your faith into the hands who do and it may come back to you to haunt you…

    The ultimate question is: is it still valid to believe you can do your job properly without joining these discussions?!?

    What I see happening in today’s world is that old-school marketing is getting less effective as the classic advertisement business is just broadcasting non-stop and all over the place. People are conditioning themselves to ignore that noise and are actively tuning out whenever they can. The only way to get your message across is through “authentic ambassadors” who have some sort of street credibility and can speak to prospects in their own lingo and based on a deep understanding of the challenges that exists in a given problem domain.

    As such, I’m hoping that your blog is read by many people as I think it’s an important matter! Thanks for brining it up.



    • It will come as no surprise that I agree with you 100%. I’m a huge social media fan and I can’t imagine living without it. You say:

      Social media is much more about listening about the concerns, worries and opinions of customers, partners, influencers and peers and engaging in these conversations!

      You are absolutely right, but I’m really not sure how that fits with the claim that social can be done in 5 minutes a day. I don’t see how you can engage with anyone in any useful fashion in just 5 minutes. If you start small, which I think is great advice, then maybe at the beginning, but a genuine social media presence is a big investment. You only get out of it what you’re prepared to put in. Anyone who thinks they can do it well on just 5 minutes a day is, well, wrong.

      • Well I can’t cover everything in one blog but here goes.

        If you have a cool App like Pulse for example you can scan a huge amount of information within a short space of time. You can set your preferences accordingly meaning you can scan what is being said about your customers, competitors and read in more detail if you choose.

        The executives are not going to write a blog a day so those 5 minutes can be used to scan information. It is like reading the newspaper – everyone does that in one way or another whether it be paper or digital form.

        The cool thing about social media is that it is addictive (in a positive way) and most executives actually have fun with it over time.

        Hope this helps.


        • You’re talking about using social media tools to aggregate and filter content so you see what’s most useful to you. As you say, producing a customised newspaper. I do exactly that, in my case using RSS feeds and with feedly as the client. I agree it is a great way to optimise the time you spend reading.

          With respect, though, it is just reading, it isn’t being social. Using social media tools, yes, being social, no. Being truly social requires engaging with people. Having conversations. I maintain you can’t do that in 5 minutes per day. It is absolutely worth doing, and encouraging people to get started is a good thing. But giving the impression that you can get huge benefits from social media with so little investment is misleading, in my opinion. I’m happy to be proved wrong.

          • As I stated in the blog post, start small 😉 If your message is a good one you really can get huge benefits with little effort. I love a challenge and am looking forward to proving you wrong (in a nice way) 😉

            Happy Friday


      • True. I’m not saying that it can be done in 5 minutes a day, but 5 minutes at a time. These days, I hop on Twitter whenever I have time to kill. Waiting for a meeting to start, waiting at the bus station or whenever I’m on my own and got a few minutes to spare. So, it’s more of a routine to integrate into your daily schedule… at least that’s how it works for me. 🙂



        • So, it’s more of a routine to integrate into your daily schedule… at least that’s how it works for me. 🙂


          Again, I agree completely. Rather than social media being something you make time for, social media should be something that is just part of what you do. In fact, if you do genuinely make connections with others then it will become something you want to do, rather than something you have to make time for.

          Of course you have to start somewhere, and 5 minutes a day is as good a starting point as any I guess, but in my mind the benefits come later once you have made personal connections, and once you’re willing to invest more time.


  • Wow what great comments. Thank you.

    I am doing my best to raise awareness of how easy it can be to be successful and active in social media without involving huge teams of people.  Oliver Bussmann was so successful because he gave his full commitment to social media and we had 1:1 discussions on blog topics.

    It is important to allow the executive’s personality to come through via social media which is difficult if you have to go via 10 people before being allowed to post something. These are the times when you should just upload a powerpoint slide and be done with it.



  • You are right, Anita, starting small and authenticity are everything. However, not everyone is built for social media. I wonder if it is right to shoe-horn a reluctant exec into social media activities? Maybe it’s then best to designate someone in her team (see what I did there?) as the inhouse blogger/tweeter/social media maven.

    • Thanks Charlotte. You should not force an executive to be active in social media. If after all efforts they still refuse to commit time or still want people to write their tweets for them they should stay aways from social media. Definitely nominate someone in your team to be the brand ambassador if you don’t want to do this yourself. SAP Global IT were extremely active. Oliver Bussmann did not expect to cover all bases but he had a great team that could. They did and still are.

  • Hello Anita,

    I very much enjoyed reading your blog post. I think your tips are really spot-on, and I’m a big proponent myself of urging new members in the community to start small and not feel like they have to start contributing by writing a blog post every week or anything. Simply answering a question, or commenting on someone else’s post, can be a way to become active with a smaller time commitment.

    One additional tip I would add in the context of SCN is to upload an avatar to your SCN profile. It makes your content more “human” and draws the reader in more when they see a face along with the content.

    As an added benefit, if you upload an avatar you will be completing the Ready (Set, Go!) mission on SCN and earning another badge. 🙂

    In fact, if you’re not familiar with the gamification elements on SCN yet, check out your Reputation tab on your profile (see the Missions section), and you’ll see that you are already halfway towards completing the I Blogged! mission. The only step left is really easy. “Flip” the mission tile to find out what that remaining step is. Before you know it, you’ll have another badge.

    Looking forward to more content from you!


    • Hi

      Sorry for the delay in replying, was out of the office for a few days.

      If your boss is not ready for a podcast then you could try using some of his management team instead.

      Your boss could simply comment on the podcast – this eases an executive into the world of social media without putting them in the spotlight straight away.

      Hope this helps.