How social is your CEO? Does their social media presence improve their standing or should it even be an issue? It’s something organisations should be paying more attention – as the CEO of a “Most Admired” company with a good reputation is more likely to be a “social CEO” than chief executives in firms with less vaunted corporate reputations.
In a study by Weber Shandwick taken over two years, CEOs in the top 50 companies listed in this year’s Fortune Global 500 rankings (15 CEOs in the U.S., 21 in Europe, 11 in Asia Pacific and 3 in Latin America) were assessed on their engagement in social media.
One of the criteria they measured CEOs on was having “a public and verifiable social network account or profile” and in the case of Facebook that their Profile page is visible either through Google search or to those who have Facebook accounts and that the page includes the CEO’s picture and accurate biographical information. The results show that 81% of CEOs are engaging in some form of social media but only 18% are actively participating on social networks whilst this is relatively low it is a 2% overall increase in two years, showing that CEOs are slowly becoming more accepting that the requirement to have a social media presence is becoming more important within the business world.
The uptake by CEOs on Facebook rose 6% in two years – the biggest increase over the two year period of the study. Jim Donaldson from Weber Shandwick notes in the report:
“This research clearly shows that top CEOs really do understand the value of social media. They realise that they need to be where their customers, prospects, employees and other audiences spend time. The dramatic increases we have seen in the last two years are only set to continue.”
One interesting result of the study shows that the longer the CEO has been in her position within the company the more social they are — which could be explained by security in their position thus making them less risk averse and more comfortable about stepping outside the box when it comes to adopting newer communications methods, including using social media.
Given that 66% of consumers, according to another Weber Shandwick study, say that their perception of a company’s chief executive affects the company’s reputation – and that company reputation is a significant driver of a company’s market value, it’s not merely the personal comfort level of the chief executive with new technology that’s at stake.
What’s your experience? Is your company led by a social CEO?