American Family Insurance CEO, Jack Salzwedel is an outlier amongst F500 executives, he takes his social media seriously, engaging eight times more than his C-suite counterparts in 2015.
During 2015, he tweeted more than three times per day on average and sent 347 @replies. According to Jack, “Social media has helped our company be more nimble; it’s helped me find my leadership niche, and for our company to find its niche in a very competitive industry.”
“My belief is social media is no longer something to consider. It is something C-level execs must engage in. – @AmFamJack”
And while @AmFamJack sees the benefit of a social presence, the majority of F500 CEOs are still on the sidelines. According to the Social CEO Report, an astonishing 61% of Fortune 500 CEOs maintain no social media presence at all.
Old School vs. New School
An analysis of Fortune 500 CEOs shows that the longer a CEO has been on the list, the less likely they are to have a social media presence. Naturally, a young CEO is more likely to be familiar with social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
But age isn’t the only factor in determining the success of a CEO’s social media presence. For example, on May 2, 2013 Warren Buffet tweeted, “Warren is in the house” and 43,000 retweets later, the billionaire made history as the most retweeted Fortune 500 CEO ever.
Most CEOs on the Fortune 500 list don’t share Buffet’s good fortune when it comes to social media. With no pressure from the board or shareholders, social media is rarely on an executive’s agenda.
Social CEOs make good company.
Social Fortune 500 CEOs like @AmFamJack might be in the minority for now, but with 78% of CEOs new to the Fortune 500 active on social media, it won’t be long before they gain significant ground.
“Some CEOs say they’re too busy for social media. I say, it’s part of the job.”
And it’s not just the Fortune 500 seeing the value of social media. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and self proclaimed social media junkie, sees tremendous value in connecting directly with customers, “Embracing social media isn’t just a bit of fun, it is a vital way to communicate, keep your ear to the ground and improve your business.” It’s not just executives divided on the topic of social media. We asked our Twitter followers about the social activity of their CEO. The results are exactly what you’d expect—divided.
My CEO is active on social media?
— Domo (@Domotalk) January 12, 2016
The Social Suite
There is a lesson to be learned from @AmFamJack who believes the future of the CEO position points to a more social savvy executive, for whom he has this advice, “I believe CEOs need to be at the front of this social media movement to show we embrace it, we understand the impact it has on how people communicate, and we know how it affects our companies’ relationships with our customers and employees.”