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Social Media and The Fortune 500 CEOs [Report]

Posted on the 20 October 2014 by Shellykramer @ShellyKramer

Social Media and The Fortune 500 CEOs ReportCEOs who get the role social media can play in terms of brand image, relationship building, and showing the human side of business are a rarity. While their numbers are slowly increasing, the majority of CEOs (and many of their colleagues in the C-Suite in general) are still largely ignoring social media as a viable communications channel.

The third Annual Social CEO report from Domo and takes a look at the way the leaders of the Fortune 500 companies actually engage on social media. The research identified the social profiles of every CEO on the list (there were actually 502 as two companies have Co-CEOs) on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. Not surprisingly, they found that more than two-thirds (68%) have no identifiable presence on any of the major social networks. Overall the research showed that the numbers of CEOs using the networks increased, apart from LinkedIn, which showed a decrease, albeit from a much higher base.


year over year gain chart

When it comes to how involved CEOs are in general across the social media landscape, the majority are to be found on only one network—not surprisingly, LinkedIn. As the biggest business social network, that only makes sense. Anyone have a quick guess as to who the only executive on all five networks is before you take a look at the next paragraph?

2:3 of ceo use only one platform

The report also reveals something about the ages of CEOs participating in social media channels that might surprise you. For those who  think Twitter is the domain of the Millennials, think again. The average CEOs on Twitter were found to be the oldest at 56.7, almost 5 years older than those on Google+. What I think is particularly interesting is the overall average age in general of CEOs participating on social networks is from about age 52 to almost 57. For CEOs and C-Suite executives who opt out because they think that social media channels are for young people, well, the data shows they couldn’t be more wrong.

And when it comes to younger CEOs, those in their early 40s on average are participating in as many as four social networks. Think any of these people are people you want to know, learn from, share with, do business with, build relationships with? Well, that’s rhetorical. Of course you do.


Twitter and CEO use chart

Let’s take a look at what the report has to say about the use of the individual networks:

Twitter. The number of Fortune 500 CEOs on Twitter rose by 50% during the last 12 months.

  • Fortune 500 CEOs on Twitter have a combined follower base of more than 3.6 million.
  • 11.5% of those are thought to be fake followers, which isn’t unusual considering the estimated 30.4 % fake follower count that exists for most celebrities.
  • 69% of CEOs using Twitter are actually active, although more than half of that total have shared fewer than 100 tweets.
  • Almost three-quarters of CEOs on Twitter have engagement scores of less than 10/100.

Facebook.  Just 8.3% of Fortune 500 CEOs surveyed have Facebook, accounts, although that is a slight increase from last year.

  • 6 of the CEOs on Facebook have official fan pages.
  • 21 have semi-private accounts and 14 private accounts.
  • Mark Zuckerberg unsurprisingly sets the pace with more than 29M followers.

LinkedIn. The number of Fortune 500 CEOs on LinkedIn has dropped since last year, but the evidence shows that those who are there are becoming more active. Of CEOs using only one social network, almost three-quartets (73%) chose LinkedIn. Those should not be surprising to anyone.

  • 19 of the CEOs on LinkedIn are on LinkedIn’s official list of the top 500 influencers.
  • Of those who aren’t on that list, 34% have more than 500 connections, almost a 100% increase on the previous year.
  • The CEOs with more complete profiles tend to have the most connections.
  • F500 CEOs using LinkedIn appear to be actively connecting with their stakeholders. Again, doesn’t that only make sense?


LinkedIn use by CEO chart

Google+. According to the report G+ “remains a desolate wasteland.” Another non-surprise.  Numbers are up 60% from 2013, although less than 15% of CEOs said that they found the platform useful. I still think that for some sectors in the right hands G+ can be used to demonstrate thought leadership and expertise, but it’s anyone’s guess what we’ll see in the future with regard to the lifespan of Google+.

Instagram. This is an interesting one. Are there CEOs using Instagram? Not surprisingly, Instagram isn’t big with the CEO set, but there are more Fortune 500 CEOs using Instagram than there are using Google+. Most are posting personal stuff, which absolutely makes sense, although Michael Rapino of LiveNation is doing some really cool stuff that’s definitely worth checking out..

The report concludes that the majority of CEOs who don’t have social media channels on their radar screens are missing out on opportunities. Their failure to leverage social tools to communicate and to enhance their personal brands as well as the profile of their companies is, in their words, “doing their companies a massive disservice.”

I think that largely CEOs and senior level executives are either caught up in the “I don’t have time for that” mentality or don’t understand the value that having a presence and engaging in the social media space can deliver.  They also don’t understand how overall a presence in the social media space as a part of their overall corporate communications strategies and integrated marketing strategies could have an impact – both internally, as it relates to their relationships with their employees and externally, as it relates to their stakeholders, customers, prospects, peers, and beyond.

Interested in the whole report? Download the full 2014 Social CEO Report (registration required) and let me know what you think. What do you see when it comes to CEOs and C-Suite executives and the social media space? Any great examples of CEOs who are nailing it? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

Source of graphics: 2014 Social CEO Report

photo credit: LendingMemo via photopin cc

Social Media and The Fortune 500 CEOs [Report] is a post from: V3 Kansas City Integrated Marketing and Social Media Agency

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