Winner interview Torbjörn Sjöström, Novus Group – CEO’S ON TWITTER, SPOTLIGHT
As tradition dictates, we end our annual survey and rank of the twittering CEOs with interviews with the winners. We present the interviews in the different categories included in the study, with contributions from Large Cap, Mid Cap, Small Cap, First North Growth Market, Nordic Growth Market (NGM), and Spotlight Stock Market.
Why map tweeting CEOs?
Since the start of Box Communications over 10 years ago, when the digital transformation was still in its infancy, we have followed how the new digital channels affect the communication of listed companies. With long experience from the financial industry, we could see that the listed companies and their CEOs live in a new exciting, and the somewhat unsafe environment when information is spread faster and faster to virtually all stakeholders at the same time.
The ongoing pandemic, which will hopefully be over soon, has further accelerated the digital transition. As more and more people get used to communicating digitally, whether it is via audio, video, film, or text, the pressure will increase on companies not only to be digital internally but to incorporate it into all communication as well. And to get quick internal acceptance and a significant external impact, the management must show the way, and Twitter can act as a starting point.
As we recently wrote in the text "The digital CEO shows the way into the future" (in Swedish) it will become increasingly important with authentic and genuine communication to break through the noise, and who is better suited to act as the company's influencer than its CEO?
We do this survey to highlight good role models who can hopefully be an inspiration for others to follow.
The Motivation - Winner Spotlight
Torbjörn Sjöström (@t_sjostrom), Novus Group
Torbjörn was the only CEO to retain first place from 2020. With a very active, and important, communication on issues such as Covid-19 and the research that Novus is doing around this, Torbjörn was the most obvious choice this year. Congratulations on the first place!
1) Can you briefly tell us about yourself and the company you are CEO of?
Novus is Sweden's most well-known research company. Most people know us because of our political surveys, but we do surveys that provide facts and knowledge about human behavior around the areas our customers want to understand. Our customers are in all sectors, private companies, organizations, authorities, and politics.
2) How did you get started with Twitter?
That was when Twitter was relatively young, and I realized that it was an excellent way to build relationships with journalists who have to tweet as part of their job descriptions. So much of our interface is via journalists, so it came pretty naturally.
3) What was your biggest challenge?
Not to be dragged into Twitter fights and letting idiots go and move on instead of being dragged along. When you have tweeted for many years, you see how Twitter changes. First, everyone was happy and shared happily, then many trolls came in and attacked people for what they shared, not for what they wrote. Then, Twitter's best time disappeared, and the number of shares went down radically. From being a platform for mutual exchange, it became more in the megaphone direction. During that transition, it was tough, it was not fun, and you had to think about what to ignore and what was important.
4) Do you see any business benefits?
Unclear now. Novus had a corporate account for a while, but we closed it; Twitter is not for corporate communication. Social media demands the nerve of a real human being. The personal touch is essential. At the same time, it is probably an advantage as well. If you do that, are honest and consistent, you gain trust and create interest. But the time when you must be on Twitter is probably over. It may come back, but right now, it's not what it used to be.
Twitter is a double-edged sword. You risk being jumped on for totally unreasonable comments. What you write can be misinterpreted and used against you. But no point in being on Twitter without being personal and then risking someone misunderstanding something completely. But at the same time, it is not a requirement to be there. My presence is much lower now than it was before.
6) How much dialogue do you have with their followers?
I try to answer all serious questions and comments. It is essential to have a dialogue, as Twitter does not work as one-way communication. However, there is more bias in that direction now, unfortunately.
7) How do you think the climate on Twitter is?
It's gotten a little better compared to when it was at its worst. But I miss the time when everyone dared to share interesting, thoughtful texts and links. Then it was a fantastic source of new perspectives; you found new followers and learned things. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.
8) How much time do you spend on your tweeting?
Now it's not so much, maybe an hour a week. When it was at its peak, and Twitter was at its best and most fun, it was at least an hour a day, probably more.
9) What are your best tips for the CEO who has not yet gotten started or just made a few small attempts?
It's simple in theory; say something fun and interesting, keep at it, be open and answer others. Do not just run the promotional material from the company. It will never be fun enough. Without showing a part of yourself. Personal but not private.