CommScope’s Jonathan Long shares how he worked with executives to establish their social media presence

Last year, Jonathan Long became the Digital Marketing Manager at ARRIS International brand Ruckus. The company has since been acquired by CommScope, but before the merger, Jonathan successfully helped numerous Ruckus executives get involved in social media and establish their presence.

The initiative began when Ruckus’ new senior executive wanted to become more active on social media.

I learned more about how to write in his voice, so he didn't have to spend as much time massaging material to post. Jonathan Long
“Within a week of him coming on board, I was in his office giving him a one-on-one course on social media best practices,” Jonathan said.

They discussed how much of his voice he should use, how many company-related or personal topics he should promote, and which networks to focus on.

“That was just one of many subsequent meetings where we got to look at what he was doing and gauge what his interests are and how he wanted to be active on those channels,” he said.

Then, Jonathan started providing the executive with articles and suggestions of content — while also adding his voice into the posts.

“I learned more about how to write in his voice, so he didn’t have to spend as much time massaging material to post,” he said. “While he still did all his own posting, this just made it a more efficient process and was helpful in feeding him material to share.

We were measuring what was working for him, what wasn't working, and what kind of content was resonating with his audiences. Jonathan Long
“We were measuring what was working for him, what wasn’t working, and what kind of content was resonating with his audiences,” Jonathan said. “And he started to feel more comfortable in generating his own copy and taking his own photos.”

Once that process took off, Jonathan was able to use it as a template for other executives as well.

According to Jonathan, once this executive was seeing success on his pages, the initiative began to catch on with other executives across the organization.

Jonathan began having individual meetings with people who had heard from their senior staff that they should be on social media. He met with them and determined their goals, what they’re interested in, their business verticals, and how active they currently are on social media.

I looked at it in phases: getting them online, getting their profiles current, and getting them active. Jonathan Long
“Depending on the comfort level of that individual, I would write out a short plan for how they can approach social,” he said. “I looked at it in phases: getting them online, getting their profiles current, and getting them active.”

The next level, Jonathan said, was getting the executives to comment and engage with posts they saw on their channels. Then, he worked with them to share content related to their business — which would help position them as thought leaders in their space.

He said different executives wanted different things out of their social presence, so he worked to customize the experience as much as possible.

Depending on their workload and level of commitment, he set up Google Alerts on relevant topics they could share themselves. They also had an employee advocacy tool that he leveraged to help get executives involved in sharing content.

“I tried to customize the experience to make it a low barrier to entry for people to get out there and start posting on their own,” Jonathan said. “Once we find a way to simplify the process and make it accessible for them, then they can adopt it themselves.”

Jonathan ran a lunch and learn to help more executives and employees get involved on social.

He had been doing so many one-on-one meetings that his manager suggested he do a group learning session to get even more people online and active. Jonathan used it as an opportunity to talk about the importance and benefits of social media and how employees could effectively post content.

Jonathan also actively tracked engagement on each executive’s accounts and shared results with them.

“There was a period of time when I was tracking all of our executive follower accounts on LinkedIn and seeing their growth over time,” he said. “I shared that with them, which would fuel and inspire them to continue growing.”

I tried to customize the experience to make it a low barrier to entry for people to get out there and start posting on their own. Jonathan Long
Jonathan had a reminder set for every Monday to look at each executive’s stats. “I could see which people were flatlining and then when they’d post something, it’d spike,” he said. “And other people were continually growing week over week because of their activities.”

Earlier in the year, there was an executive leadership meeting where Jonathan was asked to go over their social sharing — and discuss who was active and who wasn’t. Jonathan put together a presentation with each executive’s digital footprint and examples of which executives were sharing effectively.

“It was a great interactive conversation with everybody about how to do this, how to continually benefit from it, and how it benefits not just the individual executive but the company as a whole,” he said.

One of the biggest challenges he faced was getting executives to post on a regular basis.

I always try to reinforce how important sharing consistently is. Jonathan Long
“I always try to reinforce how important sharing consistently is,” Jonathan said. “When I see people, I simply ask, ‘How’s your social footprint going?’ or ‘What have you shared today?'”

He said they sent out a weekly email to employees with top stories to share for the week.

“When I looked at the metrics every Monday, logins and story shares spiked and then would go flat for the rest of the week,” said Jonathan. “Now we just need to develop the consistency for the remainder of the week to help keep it top of mind.”

The recent acquisition by CommScope has given Jonathan and his team the opportunity to revamp their tools and tech to make advocacy more scalable across the organization.

“We solidified a new Content Management System that we’ll adopt and onboard, and we’ll update our analytics and advocacy tools,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity to rebrand and do things on an even larger scale,” he said. “We have a lot going on in the back-end right now. We met with the other side of our corporate communications team on internal comms recently and talked to them about what we’re planning.”

According to Jonathan, they’re also in the midst of updating their social media policies and guidelines, and once that’s complete, they’ll communicate the changes across the organization.

“Then, we’ll start onboarding and have it rolled out to the organization by the end of the year,” he said.

They’re currently in the midst of deciding whether to onboard specific groups or roll it out to everyone all at once.

According to Jonathan, he was lucky to have executives reach out to him after seeing their peers and colleagues on social media and the impact it can have.

Once you get that executive buy in, then it's easier to communicate wider because sometimes people just don't want to be the first ones. Jonathan Long
“First, you need to find your two or three senior-level people who are already active on social media, meet with them, and talk about what their process is and how you can support that process,” he said. “Once you get that executive buy in, then it’s easier to communicate wider because sometimes people just don’t want to be the first ones. When they realize they’re not the first and that other people are making it a priority, then they don’t have an excuse not to get on social.”

But, Jonathan said, that isn’t always possible, so you may need to build that original buy-in yourself.

“Find people who are charismatic, personable, easygoing, and are already doing a lot of public speaking or advocating for the company,” he said.

Then, he said you can work with that person to build an individual social strategy, and let it be a model for the rest of the organization.

“This is just one of those opportunities that may not be changing lives, but it can reshape how people think,” Jonathan said. “We do this because we’re making an impact on people and we’re having fun doing it.”

Jonathan Long has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2016. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.