How the World’s Top CEOs Use Social Media

How the World’s Top CEOs Use Social Media

Thought leadership gets a lot of flak in marketing circles. “Thought leadership” is jargon for something companies have done forever: trying to position their executives as influential leaders. Thought leadership has fundamentally changed in the age of smartphones and social media. But not every CEO uses social media. A CEO can either participate in the discussion and influence it, or risk the implications of allowing his or her corporate image to be decided in the court of public opinion.” It’s worth noting, however, that social media thought leadership tends to have more of an impact in certain industries. The study found that executives from technology, retail, media, and entertainment were most active, while energy and air travel were the least active. The report also analyzes which social media networks play host to CEOs. For those who are active on social, LinkedIn tends to be the first choice, followed by Twitter. Every other social network lags behind in a major way: 8 percent (40 in total) of F500 CEOs use Facebook (and only eight are active), and 11 are on Instagram. While influence is hard to measure, social gives executives a unique opportunity to join and influence public conversation.

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Thought leadership gets a lot of flak in marketing circles. Some of it is fair. “Thought leadership” is jargon for something companies have done forever: trying to position their executives as influential leaders. But just because it’s a new way to refer to an old technique doesn’t mean it’s not effective. New technology has just changed how it’s done.

That’s why, much to some people’s chagrin, the term just won’t go away. Thought leadership has fundamentally changed in the age of smartphones and social media. It’s become more effective thanks to the low cost of digital distribution and the ability for individuals to cultivate their own followings. While building up an executive as a thought leader once required an immense PR effort, professionals with loyal followings and powerful influence are now a dime a dozen.

CEOs, in particular, have become social media rockstars. Elon Musk, Marc Benioff, and Mark Zuckerberg are easy examples. But not every CEO uses social media. According to new research from CEO.com and Domo, 60 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever.

CEO.com found the result incongruous with best practices. As the company writes in the report, “Social media… has a major impact on brand reputation. A CEO can either participate in the discussion and influence it, or risk the implications of allowing his or her corporate image to be decided in the court of public opinion.”

It’s worth noting, however, that social media thought leadership tends to have more of an impact in certain industries. The study…

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