2014 Social CEO Report

By Bryan Phelps

Did you know that 72% of all internet users are active on social media? With so many active users, it should be no surprise that businesses are jumping on the bandwagon to connect with their customers. While businesses actively maintain social channels, studies have shown that many CEOs and other more personal faces of the company are not following suit. In a recent report from Domo, 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs were shown to have no social media presence—not even a LinkedIn profile.

But that is slowly changing. According to the report, there are currently 42 Fortune 500 CEOs on Twitter, up from last year’s 28. Rupert Murdoch, 83 years old, is one of them, proving that you’re never too old to learn something new. When you look at the sheer numbers of daily users, it makes sense for CEOs to be visible and engaged on social media. After all, that’s where their customers (and employees) are spending their time.

CEOs who have decided to ignore social media are missing out on opportunities for improving brand awareness, building brand loyalty, and adding a personal touch to corporate messaging. Social media is all about connection. What better way to build a strong relationship with your consumers than by engaging with them?

Overall, 69% of Twitter CEOs are active on the platform (having tweeted in the last 100 days), and out of the CEOs who are social, most tweet approximately once every two days. Jack Salzwedel, Chairman and CEO of American Family Mutual Insurance Group, is the most active tweeter, sending an average of 4.82 tweets per day.

People want to hear from CEOs. For example, Warren Buffett has only tweeted five times ever, and yet he has close to a million followers. Looking at the quality of these follower counts also reveals interest in CEO engagement. Out of the combined 3,696,637 followers Fortune 500 CEOs have on Twitter, only 11.5% of those are fake. Top celebrities, such as Oprah, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Ellen DeGeneres, were found to have an average of 30.4% fake followers on Twitter. That’s an 18.9% difference. When it comes to Twitter engagement, quality outweighs quantity.

So, who are the top CEOs on Twitter? Here are the top five in the Fortune 500:

  • Warren Buffett (Berkshire-Hathaway) 844,731 followers, Klout score of 87
  • Ralph Lauren (Polo Ralph Lauren) 769,403 followers, 2.99 tweets per day
  • Tim Cook (Apple) 529,761 followers, .18 tweets per day
  • Rupert Murdoch (News Corp) 508,687 followers, .6 tweets per day
  • Meg Whitman (Hewlett-Packard) 235,878 followers, Klout score of 82

With the expansion of social media, the world of marketing and reputation management is quickly changing. Customer service has taken a different approach as people now have a public platform to complain or praise a company. When used correctly, social media can increase transparency and provide direct access to leadership. CEOs everywhere would be wise to adopt their company’s practices and add a personal touch to their brand.