Why Your CEO Might Not be on Twitter
The Global IBM CEO Study 2012 recently looked at insights from conversations with more than 1,700 CEOs in 64 countries, and found that only 16% of CEOs use social media today. This outlook is expected to change in the near future, with 57% of CEOs saying they plan to use social media to interact with their customers over the next five years. Not surprisingly, face-to-face interaction through a company’s sales force and representatives is considered the most common, preferred mode of communication method, with social media a close second, leaving behind websites, channel partners, call centers and traditional media as preferred means of customer interaction.
So with such a constantly evolving industry, why do so few CEOs have a presence on social networks? Is it that they aren’t sure of what platform to use? Do they feel it is not necessary to be there on a personal level if their company already has a social profile to engage customers?
Regardless, the fact is, just as brands need to get involved in the social space, C-suiters need to utilize these communication methods as well to connect with a new generation of employees and customers. For example, a CEO from Argentina explained the evolution of an ‘e-mail’ generation into a ‘social’ generation, while another CEO from Australia remarked on the lack of knowledge around how to use social media. Social media usage and adoption is growing faster than many industries can keep up and some find the time investment needed to keep the networks updated is too demanding.
So on one hand we have these determining factors, which may be considered as a barrier to entry for some CEOs, but on the other hand we have a wide range of solutions to improve our business and leadership. IBM reveals companies with CEOs who are open to social media usage have a 30% better chance of beating their competitors.
Social CEOs listen to their customers, employees and partners. They are aware of industry trends and competitive steps. While a brand’s social profile is to meant to increase sales and brand reputation, a social CEO will always be the best spokesperson and the closest, most human image for their audience. A social CEO can also be considered an influencer to audiences interested in the brand’s key industry.
Some good examples of CEOs on social media include: Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore, who has almost 3 million followers on Twitter and posts nearly 100 tweets per day; Bill Gates, former Microsoft CEO, who has more than 7 million followers with 1 or 2 tweets per day; and Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, who links every tweet to his personal blog and talks about business and hobbies – a great way to be engaging and social while still driving traffic to a brand site.
It’s no secret – business is changing and going social, and CEOs need to move at the same pace or risk becoming irrelevant. Social media is not an enemy; it’s an extension of the reality we already know. Are you prepared to be there?