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, Nordic Growth Market (NGM), and Spotlight Stock Market.
Why map tweeting CEOs?
Since the start of Box Communications 10 years ago, when the digital transformation was still in its infancy, we have followed how the new digital channels affect the companies' communication. With long experience from the financial industry, we could see that the listed companies in particular and their CEOs live in a new exciting, and somewhat unsafe environment when information is spread faster and faster to virtually all stakeholders at the same time.
Many believe that the pandemic we are currently experiencing 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.
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
Last year, we wrote that Torbjörn could challenge first place this year, which he also did. With active communication about, among other things, Covid-19 and the surveys that Novus does, it was a natural choice to put Torbjörn as number one.
Winner interview - Torbjörn Sjöström
- In connection with the corona pandemic, digital communication has reached entirely new levels, how has it affected your internal and external communication work?
Since most of our employees are in Stockholm and commute into the city, almost everyone worked from home starting when it was recommended to do so. Virtually all physical meetings have then gone digital — the same with external meetings. The need for communication becomes more significant, and one must also understand that a pandemic affects everyone. Some in a physical sense, as they become ill, but everyone is affected mentally in different ways. So it is essential to understand and take this into account. Having interpersonal contact, even if it is via video, is an important dimension. We have been able to go through this period without layoffs, so it has been good to keep up the pace for everyone, even if everyone had to fight harder.
- We use Twitter as a starting point for our survey, but which other channels do you use, and which ones work best?
It depends a bit on the target group, of course. The most critical channel for building awareness and credibility is traditional news media. There is nothing that beats these if you want a broad reach. But at the same time, if you find the right tone on Facebook and Twitter, it works very well. LinkedIn, I have a much harder time finding a tonality that works. It is important to be personal but not private. I do not manage to get the personal dimension into LinkedIn.
- Social media, not least Twitter, is often criticized for spreading threats and hatred. As a tweeting CEO, is this something you recognize?
Absolutely, it's full of swamps; at times, Twitter has only led to accidents, stomach ulcers, and irritation. If you happen to be perceived as an opponent of something, the trolls will come. That behavior has killed a lot of what was good about Twitter. The number of people retweeting dropped radically. And I don't mean my tweets but everyone's tweets, so it resulted in you getting less interesting things in your flow. Unfortunately, the trick nowadays is not to be too much on Twitter. The trolls have basically sabotaged it. But with that said, I'm not exposed to much hatred anymore. Most people now understand that we convey facts, not opinions. That we do not take a political position. I am not involved in the war of opinion but stand for data that everyone should relate to.
- Today, about 15% of the stock exchange's CEOs are on Twitter. From your perspective, should there be more, and if so, why?
It all depends. You have to have something interesting to say, and that has public interest. And as I said before, it is crucial to find a tone that works. Personal but not private. So you can't just send out press releases, it will be uninteresting. There is also a risk of being too active even if you do not manage the balance. Then it can result in crisis management rather than sound examples. It depends on what perception you want to "load" the company within your digital channels. Nor can it be just a facade, because then it strikes back. Musk is a clear example of how you risk crossing the border, expensive tweets from him.