Keys to Succession

Despite so much emphasis on social media in business, formal channels for announcing important news are no less important. In a company, when an important figure decides to step down, is removed, passes away, or moves on to another company, an important public relations function called succession planning is called into action. Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing internal or external people with the potential to fill key business leadership positions in the company. Today, social media plays a part in announcing a succession, and here is a list of some pros and cons:


  • Facebook announcements serve as a personal way to reach your public. 
  • Allows for conversation and reassurance during the change in leadership on the company profile page.
  • Offers insight to public opinion and concerns about the change and allows the company to address them in a personal way via Twitter or Facebook, like how Twitter CEO Evan Williams revealed that he asked Twitter COO Dick Costolo to step in as the company’s CEO on the Twitter blog.
  • Allows the old or new CEO to include a personal message that is quick and to the point and shows up in the newsfeed of every follower.


  • If news comes out prematurely on Twitter or Facebook, it could announce false information that could damage the company reputation, like the premature announcement of Jim Boeheim’s retirement via Twitter.
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  • Tweets might not offer as much or sufficient information to satisfy stakeholders about the succession.
  • If a company only announces the succession over social media, it could appear unplanned, oversimplified, or irresponsible.

Overall, a succession should be communicated through social media in order to reach a more broad company following and create a more personal touch. However, if the exiting leader is leaving on a bitter note or was removed unwillingly, it would be wise not to include a message from him or her, and instead include a message from only the new leader. Also, social media can be a valuable tool in announcing a succession, but it should by no means be the first or the only method. In addition to social media, a more formal, descriptive and explanatory message should be issued that can explain the new company dynamic that is more than 140 characters.

Want to know more? Check out @SuccessionToday for more advice.

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