Do you know anyone who isn’t using some form of social media these days? At least 59% of the UK population are active on social media so it’s somewhat surprising to hear that the business world’s top CEOs only make up a small part of that percentage.
A new report from CEO.com shows that 61% of Fortune 500 CEOs are not present on any social media platform, and none of those with a social media presence are active across all six of the most popular social media platforms.
The analysis also showed that LinkedIn was the single most popular platform for CEOs. Of those active on only one site 70% were on LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s popularity could be partly due to the introduction of their influencer program.
There’s also the perception that Twitter and Facebook are only for sharing your breakfast photos while Google+ is a dead platform so there’s no point carrying out any business on it. Plus there’s also the fear of getting it wrong or subjecting yourself to ridicule like poor Apple CEO Tim Cook, who got roasted on Twitter after posting a wild, out-of-focus shot at the end of Super Bowl 50.
Even if executives don’t view all social media platforms with the same importance, they should take into account customer trends on social media to value the impact they could make. There are currently more than 2 billion people using social media worldwide and three out of four consumers saying social media influences their buying decisions.
With the amount of users connecting to social media increasing at a rate of 25% a year, why aren’t more CEOs doing the same?
The lack of free time may be a reason why so many CEOs choose not to participant in a great deal of social media networking. They also employ marketers and strategists to make use their expertise in this area.
The press tends to publicise more of the negative stories linked to CEOs and social media. Nevertheless, CEOs have a real potential to be make a big impact. A good example of this is Warren Buffett, his first tweet was the most retweeted message from any Fortune 500 CEO so far to date.
Last June, United States President Barack Obama opened the first presidential Twitter account, stating he will: “Engage directly with the American people, with Tweets coming exclusively from him.” If the Commander-in-Chief of the USA can see the importance in this, then should more executives be considering a similar approach?
Here are just a few of the benefits executives could be gaining from a greater social presence.
Opportunity to meet customers in real time
Social media can provide a direct insight into what consumers are thinking and doing in a short period of time. Spend a few minutes on a feed and it is possible to discover your customer’s opinions, new developments they would like to see or even product support enquiries. Gathering vital information like this would only otherwise be possible through focus groups and analysis.
Giving a human face to a company
Communicating with customers through social media gives CEOs the chance to build trust with them and provides a human face for the company. John Legere (T-Mobiles CEO) engaged with a user on Twitter after they posted positive feedback about T-Mobile’s data plan.
Build relationships with employees
It also enables CEO’s to communicate effectively internally with other staff members and reduces the corporate hierarchy often exhibited between executives and employees. A study carried out by the global PR firm Weber Shandwick revealed that 75 percent of respondents feel having their CEO on social media is beneficial for media and employee relations.
Exposure that works on your schedule
Social media provides a platform to broadcast to large audiences at convenience. This could be a tremendous benefit to a company launching a new product or hiring for new employees, especially when posted from the account of a CEO.
Richard Branson is one executive that leverages social networking to get his point across; he gains consumers trust and represents a human face for his company, Virgin. It therefore allows him the perfect opening to promote his brand and any new products/service launches.
With more of the population using social media than ever, it’s importance within the workplace will only increase. Researchers estimate that $1.3 trillion in value is still waiting to be unlocked by companies that can utilise social media in their sales, customer service, internal communications and marketing tools.
Businesses whose executives are involved in social media particularly on a personal level will be far more efficient at integrating social technologies into their companies. With the ever-increasing number of tools and analytic services available to save time and improve productivity there hasn’t been a better time for CEOs to join the online community.