How CEOs Can Be Real On Twitter And Still Not Screw Up Like Jack Welch

Julie SmolyanskyLifeway CEO Julia Smolyansky

Photo: Courtesy of Lifeway

The Jack Welch fiasco is exactly why most CEOs are hesitant to join social networks. The benefits can be unclear, and there’s always a risk of backlash after mistakes.We spoke to Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky (@juliesmolyansky) about how she stays real on Twitter, while still bolstering her company’s brand. 

“It’s the best way to be an activist and spread your message,” she tells us. “I tweet, I’m on Facebook, I’m on Instagram, I’m on Pinterest, I’m on Foursquare, I’m in all of the different platforms, Lifeway is also.”

Above all, “just be smart.”

Smolyansky says this is the most important thing. The stakes are high, and the account is an extension of your brand. It’s not the place for personal politics or controversy. (Jack Welch made that very clear when he faced a huge backlash after accusing the administration of manipulating jobs numbers due to a poor debate performance.)

But at the same time, that doesn’t mean you should be bland or impersonal. “I’m not going to be like, ‘Hey I have a deal!'” Smolyanksy says. “I just took it as an opportunity to have another marketing tool for free and to build a community of supporters, activists, and people who really love the brand.”

By being authentic, she’s been able to build and engage with what she calls “evangelical customers” across her corporate and personal accounts. 

Here’s how she does it:

“I pass on health messages, I support different charities and causes that are important to me, and the brand, I communicate with different people that I know and support … I share things that are happening in my life, I was at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit, I went for a run with Christy Turlington, took a picture of that, you know, different things like that, just giving people a little window into my life, into the brand, a little bit behind the scenes.”

It’s information that’s interesting and personal, but all very much in keeping with the brand and its message.

Here are some of Smolyansky’s recent tweets

Smolyansky twitter

Photo: Twitter/@JulieSmolyansky

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