Next week will mark the fourth annual Social CEOs Awards. I was lucky enough to sit on the judging panel for the awards a couple of years ago and it was quite an eye-opener for me. If I am being perfectly honest, some of the people who won an award in 2015 were not social media superstars; the selection of charity CEOs that we had to choose from who were using social media was minimal. Simply using twitter on a regular basis put you in the running as a potential nominee.
Two years on and things seem to have changed so much; it is hard for me to imagine a CEO existing in 2017 who doesn't have at least a small digital footprint. It seems we have convinced many people that it is important to have an online presence. I would therefore imagine that the conversations between this year's #SocialCEOs judging panel had shifted from looking at the frequency of social media usage onto the type of content people were sharing, and how CEOs are now using social media to interact with their audiences.
As a CEO myself, this is something that I have been experimenting with.The charity I lead has over 8,500 members and, in an ideal world, I would meet every single one of them. The days that I get to visit the great work that is done by small charities across the UK are always the most inspiring and motivating for me. I never cease to be amazed by how many people have dedicated their lives to helping others. The reality of my job as the CEO of a small charity is that I need to be back in the office relatively frequently - supervising the team, responding to external enquiries, and completing all of the lovely administration tasks that are part of my role. It simply isn't possible for me to be face to face with our small charity members all the time. That's the beauty of social media - every single day I get to hear something from or, share something with, the charities that make my job so satisfying. Dropping into Twitter, scrolling through Instagram, or spending 10 minutes on Facebook allows me to instantly and efficiently connect with the world. 
I have also been playing around with the use of video on YouTube and experimenting with different calls to action on LinkedIn and the results have been incredible. Through social media alone I have secured new laptops for the whole team, a new partnership with a central London law firm, and our staff party has been fully funded by a very generous corporate partner.
I am a fully-fledged #SocialCEOs convert - I can't imagine life without social media any more. I see it as an integral part of my role, a vital part of transparency for my charity, and a cost-effective way of getting messages into the public domain. I still remember the time when I was scared about starting my digital journey but I am so pleased that I took the risk and went for it. I would love to encourage others to do the same. I promise it will be worth it and if you need someone to support you through the process, just come onto twitter and say hi to me - @MsMandyJ - I promise to give you a warm, supportive and friendly welcome.
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