An entire library could be written about the types of activities that senior executives should be spending their time on. Should their role be more tactical, strategic or symbolic?
A new addition to the library could be built to delve into the question of how involved (if at all) senior executives ought to be with their company's social media channels. More so than other "opportunities" that have come along in the past, I think the positives from senior leadership's participation in Social Media ought to be recognized.
My background prior to co-founding MoreVisibility in 1999, included a decade of call center / inside sales consulting and training. One of the most valuable lessons I learned was the insights that were gleaned by senior management when they actually invested the time to listen first-hand to reps on the phones (inbound and / or outbound) and got a sense for the issues (positive or negative) that their frontline team members were experiencing. I've found it's one thing for managers to share with their bosses what's going on; where they are having challenges or seeing opportunities. It's another thing entirely when executives hear it for themselves; it carries a whole lot more weight and meaningful change tends to occur as a result.
The significance of monitoring a company's perceived performance and reputation through Social Media should not be underestimated; nor should the chance to participate in and guide the discussion through blogging, YouTube, Twitter, etc. be dismissed. Everyone has a voice today, if they want to use it. Executives who are willing to roll up their sleeves to first understand, then get involved with Social Media will undoubtedly benefit as a result. The upside can include, but is not limited to a much deeper understanding of what a company is going to need to do moving forward to remain competitive in their industry. I also believe that prospects and customers appreciate visible involvement by senior management. It shows they are engaged and willing to have some skin in the game.
Lastly, there tends to be a disconnect with company executives relating to their SEO rankings. Just because they feel their company ought to appear prominently in the results doesn't mean that they will. Participating in social media is one way that senior managers can have a very positive impact on their SEO results.