Why CEOs Need to Adapt to Social Media

It has now been widely accepted that social media is not a passing fad that will simply die out in a few years time, remembered only as a quaint online distraction in years to come. Quite the contrary, social media is now an essential part of the worlds industries and has revolutionised the way we interact with each other and the way big businesses communicate with their customers.

Lack of Social CEOs

Knowing how integral social media has become, it is surprising to note that the majority of big company CEOs are virtually invisible on social media sites. They’re not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not on Google Plus, not on Pinterest—they’re barely even on LinkedIn. Over half of the US population has embraced social media, yet 7.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs have bothered to jump on Facebook, and just 4% have opened Twitter accounts. All in, 70% of big company CEOs have no presence on social networks.

In a recent survey conducted by domo, some of the findings are quite shocking:

  • 70 percent of CEOs have no presence on social networks.
  • Of the 38 Fortune 500 CEOs on Facebook, Michael Rapino of Live Nation Entertainment has the most friends, with 1,723.
  • Among the 20 Fortune 500 CEOs who have opened Twitter accounts, 5 have never tweeted. (Note: At the end of the survey, only 19 CEOs had Twitter accounts. Oracle’s Larry Ellison joined Twitter after the survey was completed, boosting the number to 20.)
  • The average number of followers for Fortune 500 CEOs with Twitter accounts is 33,250.
  • Rupert Murdoch of News Corp, with 249,000 followers, is now the most-followed Fortune 500 CEO, surpassing HP’s Meg Whitman who was in the number one spot when the survey was taken.
  • 10 Fortune 500 CEOs have more than 500 LinkedIn connections, while 36 CEOs have 1 LinkedIn connection or none.
  • Six Fortune 500 CEOs contribute to blogs, and only one of the six CEOs, John Mackey of Whole Foods, maintains his own blog.
  • Zero Fortune 500 CEOs are on Pinterest.

Responding to Social Media

Social network sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are now an integral part of peoples daily lives. CEOs have a responsibility to their shareholders to be visible, and those who shun social media risk losing touch with some of their most lucrative customers, prospects and influencers. In order to respond effectively to social media, organisations have had to make changes to process, policy and culture. The successful ones have developed social media strategies that are aligned to their customers’ requirements, and have had to communicate clear policies and procedures to their employees.

Social media has allowed big corporations to have a more personal and direct relationship with its customers. This new digital technology has become a dominant force in consumer culture and is being exploited successfully by some of the world’s leading businesses. The world’s top brands are using social media as a meaningful way of deepening relationships with their customers, and in response customers are connecting and having conversations about organisations through social media, whether organisations are actively engaged or not, and brands risk being compromised if they fail to participate.

CEOs need to champion innovation in whatever form it takes. Social media is just one form of innovation, and the chances are there will be a lot more coming up in the future. CEOs need to believe and accept the transformative power of social media.  However, if they persist in lagging far behind the general population in social media participation and not delivering value to the shareholders, they may not be CEOs for much longer.

Below is the infographic showing the future of Social CEO. It also reveals the benefits of social engagement and social media marketing for the businesses.

“Why leaders need a social media?” is an interview with G. Swiegers, Deloitte’s Australia CEO who explains the idea of ‘digital native’, ‘digital dinosaur’ and ‘digital immigrant’. Mr. Swiegers also explains why social media is a key for being a leader in the future.