More Fortune 500 CEOs Joining Twitter, But Many Are Missing an Opportunity to Better Engage with Audience
New Social CEO study from Domo and CEO.com also reveals Instagram is more popular with business leaders than Google Plus
SILICON SLOPES, Utah– September 9, 2014 – Even though CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are gradually embracing social media, many are failing to take full advantage of the social tools at their disposal, according to a new study sponsored by Domo and CEO.com, an online resource that lets busy executives stay up-to-date on the latest news and best practices in business management.
The 2014 CEO.com Social CEO Report, an annual survey that investigates the social media habits of business leaders, found that 8.3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs now have Twitter accounts, compared to just 5.6 percent last year, a 46 percent increase in participation. However, among all CEOs on Twitter, only 69 percent are active users of the service, tweeting within the last 100 days. That represents a slight increase from last year when 67.9 percent of CEOs on Twitter were active users.
What’s more, the average frequency of CEO tweets has remained flat. This year, CEOs averaged 0.488 tweets per day, compared to 0.493 tweets per day in 2013. Even though more CEOs are on Twitter, many are not actively using the service, which means they are missing important opportunities to engage with customers, partners, employees and other stakeholders.
All told, 68 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs still have no social presence on any of the major social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Instagram, according to the report.
One extremely positive trend, however, is that a progressive, social-savvy breed of Fortune 500 CEO is emerging. This group is represented by the likes of Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Jonas Prising of ManpowerGroup, both of whom were named CEO by their respective companies in 2014. Among all active Fortune 500 CEOs, Prising has been on Twitter the longest, at 2,145 days, followed closely by Nadella at 1,961 days, according to the new Social CEO Report.
Both young and more experienced CEOs are engaging with their audiences in a variety of beneficial ways. Take Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt for examples. Zuckerbeg spends most of his time on Twitter communicating back and forth with his audience while Immelt almost exclusively uses it as a one-way communication channel to share important information with his followers.
“We’re seeing a new generation of CEOs leading the social revolution in the executive suite,” said Josh James, founder of CEO.com and Domo, a cloud-based software company that is redefining business intelligence. “These social leaders understand that if you choose not to become a social leader, you are in danger of losing touch with your key stakeholders. Social media gives business leaders a way to burnish their personal and corporate brand, as well as listen to the community at large and respond to the issues that matter most to their company and customers. It also gives them a powerful communications channel to share what’s most important and drive understanding and alignment around key issues. CEOs who truly understand and appreciate the power of social media will have a significant competitive advantage in the future.”
Another important finding in this year’s report is that photo-sharing network Instagram is now more popular than Google Plus among business leaders. Some 2.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are on Instagram, compared to just 1.6 percent who have a Google Plus account. Interestingly, most of these CEOs are using Instagram not for business purposes, but to post personal pictures of family outings, favorite pets and vacations.
The study also found that LinkedIn remains the most popular social network for Fortune 500 CEOs. This year, 25.4 percent have LinkedIn accounts, compared to 27.7 percent last year, and more than a third have 500-plus connections, compared to last year when only 18 percent had that many connections. Additionally, among all CEOs on LinkedIn, 19 are part of the “influencer” program, allowing them to share personally written business articles and content with a wider audience.
Finally, the report revealed that more Fortune 500 CEOs are migrating to Facebook. This year, 8.3 percent of CEOs have Facebook accounts, compared to 7 percent last year.
Other notable findings from the study include:
- The most active CEO on Twitter is Jack Salzwedel of American Family Mutual Insurance Group, with an average of 4.82 tweets per day. Last year, Jack Salzwedel was also the top tweeter at 3.21 tweets per day.
- The rate at which CEOs joined Twitter increased by 46 percent from 2013 to 2014.
- Within the Fortune 100, CEOs joined Twitter at a more rapid rate. The increase from 2013 to 2014 was 50 percent.
- The CEOs who are tweeting less frequently include Ralph Lauren (-1.54/day), Rupert Murdoch (-0.54), David Barger (-0.42), and Warren Buffett (-0.32).
- The CEOs who are tweeting more frequently include Jack Salzwedel (+0.57) and Hikmet Ersek (+0.29).
About the Survey
To find out how many CEOs were actually using social media, and what kind of influence they had, we turned to the FORTUNE 500® list, searching for every CEO on each of the five major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Instagram.
When Josh James was CEO of Omniture, he was always looking for stories and inspiration that would help him be a more effective leader. That’s why Josh decided to create a resource to help him and other executives stay up-to-date with what’s happening at the C-level across top industries. That resource is CEO.com. CEO.com delivers the latest news and best practices in business management all in one place.
Domo is a cloud-based executive management platform that gives users direct, real-time access to all the business information they care about, all in one place.
With more than $250 million in funding, Domo is backed by an all-star list of angels and investors including Benchmark, Fidelity Investments, Founders Fund, GGV Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP, salesforce.com, TPG Growth, T. Rowe Price, WPP and Zetta Venture Partners, plus CEOs of the world’s largest SaaS and Internet businesses.
Domo’s founding team consists of some of the most sought after talent in the industry with experience that includes Amazon, American Express, Ancestry.com, eBay, Endeca, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, MLB.com, Omniture, salesforce.com and SAP.
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