Last year my company Domo, along with CEO.com, published an eye-opening study that revealed the social media habits of Fortune 500 CEOs. It found that the vast majority of these business leaders were virtually invisible on social media sites.
At the time, it was startling that more than half the U.S. population had eagerly embraced sites like Facebook, yet only 7.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs had joined Facebook and less than four percent had a Twitter account. My belief was and still is that CEOs shunning social media are doing their shareholders a massive disservice.
Fast forward: A year later, we wanted to see if the picture had changed and if more Fortune 500 CEOs were getting with the social program. So we conducted another survey.
This year’s “Social CEO Report” delivered a mixed bag. First the bad news: A full 68 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs still have no presence on social media. However, that finding is an improvement by two percentage points over last year’s results.
What’s most telling to me is that LinkedIn and Twitter have clearly emerged as the top social channels for business leaders, while usage on Facebook—the longtime heavyweight of social—is actually on the decline among Fortune 500 CEOs.
Twitter participation has increased a startling 55.6 percent over 2012 yet Facebook usage has dropped by nearly eight percent. Why?
I believe it’s simple: Business leaders want information that’s quick, succinct and easily digestible. I hear this from our customers at Domo all the time. Executives, particularly CEOs, are getting tired of being slammed with tidal waves of information. They want it simple, clean and concise.
Twitter more than any other social network delivers those features. Facebook, not so much. But what about LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a totally different animal with a more precise purpose—and that purpose plays nicely to the needs of business leaders. From the get-go this social network has been about connecting the dots and has become an indispensible tool for corporate recruiting and information sharing on a more targeted level. This utility could very well be why it’s the one social media platform that’s actually more popular among CEOs than the general public. Our new study shows that 27.9 percent of Fortune 500s CEOs are on LinkedIn, compared to 20 percent of the U.S. population as a whole.
One final note about the study: Google Plus was included, but just one percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are active on the network, compared to 0.8 percent last year. While not operating at the same level as other networks, Google Plus has some benefits (i.e. SEO) that business leaders should consider before dismissing it entirely.
Fortune 500 CEOs still have a long way to go when it comes to social media, but it appears CEOs are slowly paying attention and no longer satisfied with sitting on the sidelines.
You can see the full report here.