The Social CEO - The Importance of Social Media For CEOs

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The world has changed. With information so readily available, the masses are not as uninformed as they once were. Nor are they so removed from corporate levels. Their voice is greater than ever, and they have a greater influence than they ever did in the past.

The growing power of social media

Primarily, that voice is through social networking. Blogs, community sites like Facebook, and sharing sites like Pintrest all contribute toward the growing voice of the consumer. Businesses are forced to keep up with the flow or be left behind.

This is a situation that many CEO’s of large companies don’t know how to face. In fact, a recent study showed that 70 percent of CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies have no presence in the most popular of Internet activity: social networking.

Sometimes, it is lack of knowledge. For others, however, they simply don’t have the time to personally invest in social networking. Running the business takes up much of their time.

There are other points to consider, as well. Posts are examined critically and a misspoken word can have unintended consequences that create PR repercussions. It also invites yet another insight into a life already made public by their status. Personal interest is also a contributing factor, although many do see the value in hiring a marketing team for social media. Some CEO’s prefer the more traditional media methods.

Social media is moving on

Yet despite these reluctances, social networking is quickly becoming essential for companies of any size. A recent survey of consumers indicated that over 80 percent of those studied were more likely to trust a company when the top executives of that company were involved in social media. 77 percent said that they would be more likely to purchase goods from a company that defined company values by social media.

The power of social networking is steadily growing. Currently, only 16 percent of CEO’s of large companies are active on social networks. That figure is expected to have a 256 percent increase within the next 3-5 years.

Becoming engaged: CEO's in social media


Some CEO’s are already well on board, using social media to connect with their customers. Rupert Murdoch is one of the most active CEO’s on Twitter, averaging at least two tweets a day, often more. Jack Salzwedel is another high-ranking businessman who at over 1,700 tweets holds the most tweets. In comparison, the CEO of Motorola Solutions has only 133 tweets and only tweets a few times per month.

Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pintrest are just a few of the other social networking sites to speak of. Some CEO’s have accounts on multiple sites, like Jeff Joerres, CEO of ManpowerGroup, who has both a Facebook and a Twitter account.

Social media is coming to replace traditional media. In fact, traditional media is expected to see a decrease of at least 61 percent within the next few years. More people are continually switching to the easier forms of Internet communication. Information is constantly being exchanged, and the people are continually looking to the Internet for updates on products and companies.

This does not mean that a CEO absolutely must always be actively engaged in social media. The CEO of Ford Motor Company does not himself have a social media profile. However, he is actively engaged in his company’s social media presence through periodic Q&A tweet sessions on Twitter with his marketing team.

Overall, a personal presence in social media brings not only the CEO, but the entire company, into the spotlight. Social media is its own spotlight, bringing the business more into the eye of the public. When the people can see the personal side of the man who runs the business rather than simply a statement made by a detached social marketing team, it improves the company’s standing. Public approval leads to increased sales.

About the author: This article was written by Karl Stockton for kendall.edu. For those looking to further their career – in the hopes of becoming one of these CEOs – contact them to learn about their hospitality programs.


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