Should CEOs be on social media? They should ask their customers, employees and future talent

Vistage 41 23.03.2011 Social Media Masterclass

There’s been a number of articles and bits of research that I’ve seen recently talking about the number of CEOs that are on social media. One, in particular, on Mashable points to a recent study by Domo and CEO.com, which found that nearly 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no presence on the major social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+). Of the 30% that are on social media channels, nearly all of them (28%) are on LinkedIn, with a much lower number on Twitter.

These type of results are not confined to CEOs in the US but are also reflected amongst CEOs and FTSE board members in the UK. Recent research (Jan 2013) by communications consultancy Text100 showed that only 27% have established a profile on LinkedIn and the number with their own blogs or on Twitter is dramatically lower.

Now, these articles are quite interesting. But, so are the comments in the articles and the various reasons that people are coming up with why CEOs are not on social media. They include:

  • They’re too old;
  • They’re scared of legal and regulatory issues;
  • They’re a different generation;
  • They don’t have the time;
  • They’re not interested;
  • It’s a waste of time for people like them;
  • etc etc

All of these could be true.

However, another recent research infographic on Pinterest: CEOs on Social Media Statistics finds similar results but extends the research to include the views of employees and customers. The infographic goes on to say that:

  • CEOs who participate on social media can build better connections with customers, employees and investors.
  • Employees believe that CEOs that engage on social media are better equipped to lead companies in the web 2.0 world.
  • Customers are more likely to trust and buy from a company whose CEO and leadership team engage on social media; and
  • Professionals would prefer to work for a company whose leadership in active on social media.

If these results are true, does that not make a compelling case for more CEOs and senior management to get onto social media?

CEOs and senior management need to remember that they are in a position of leadership and leadership is not just about them but is also about the people that are around them. As a result, if they are serious about customer and employee engagement then the opinions of their customers, employees and future talent matter.

So, if you are a CEO, or in senior management, in a large or small firm, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do your employees want to see you more active on social media? Will doing so help with your engagement scores and communication?
  • Would your customers trust you more and buy more from your firm if you were on social media?
  • Is your future talent judging you and your firm by your activity on social media?

If you don’t know, then ask them.

Photo Credit: mediasnackers via Compfight cc

Comments

  1. The CEO of the Royal and Sun Alliance in the UK can be found at @citygoose

    Thought you might like to know.

    James

  2. Adrian,

    Great post, as always. In the spirit of communication, transparency, and having your feet on the ground, I’m all for it. I’m actually surprised that the statistic is as high as it is… the infographic says “have a presence”… does that mean they just have social media accounts or are they active?

    Annette :-)

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