As the figurehead of an organisation, the Chief Executive will always be there to be scrutinised whether it be from commentary in the newspaper, to the ‘ voice’ on social media.

Be it Richard Branson, who famously faux-passed in front of his six million followers with ‘Space is hard – but worth it’ on the day of the fatal Virgin Galactic crash last year, to Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary seemingly forgetting the true reach of Twitter by commenting ‘Nice pic. Phoarrrr!!’ when a female fan posted a photograph of her airplane journey on his Twitter feed.

The risks these tweets impose on the person, but more importantly, an organisation’s brand can be huge so it’s really key that the person behind the tweet is taking responsibility and is aware of the risks social media brings. So…

Have you had training?

Has your media training been extended to the digital world? Specific training and guidance on social media for every level, from board to operational staff and volunteers, helps different roles to understand the risks and manage them. Keep the guidance and training simple, easy to access and remember, and people are more likely to engage in it.

Are you in the know?

As Chief Executives, you should be kept abreast of any ‘breaking news’ or latest developments (both internally and externally) that may affect or be related to your charity. The processes around these latest developments should be enforced to determine whether it is appropriate that you engage in conversation on that particular news story, or whether it is more appropriate to refrain in case the subject could be seen as insensitive. As Chief Executives, your first thought should be to check in with these processes, and not act before that. This could be critical in avoiding a ‘Richard Branson’ moment.

Authenticity is key

Your own voice will be much more engaging for beneficiaries, giving your own personal thought and passion for the cause. By having your own account, this is your chance to create your own ‘human touch’, a chance for everyone to see that you care about the charity you lead. This is you taking control of your own message but it should be one taken with care. This should be different from the charity’s, where the posts, in many cases, are constructed by professionally trained individuals who will have a more ‘structured’ approach to what they are saying.

As a social CEO, you already have a personal and vested interest in social media, but it is always important to check back to make sure you have the basics right when using these channels in attracting new beneficiaries.