Social media provides an exciting new way for CEOs to ignore things they don’t understand, according to a new study by CEO.com, which found that just 32% of Fortune 500 bosses have any sort of social media presence at all. Apparently the other 68% are crouching fearfully in the C suite, suspiciously poking a 90’s vintage desktop and wondering how to summon the fire magic told of in lore.
In terms of which social media platforms they’re specifically ignoring, just 35 Fortune 500 CEOs -- 7% of the total are on Facebook and 28 (5.6%) are on Twitter. Unsurprisingly LinkedIn is more popular, with 140 CEOs (27.9%) using the professional network.
Of course, just because the silverbacks are on social media doesn’t mean they’re using it. Only 19 of the 28 CEOs who are on Twitter are active users, and CEO.com observes that most CEOs aren’t actively trying to expand their LinkedIn networks. On the other hand, many CEOs are interested in becoming a LinkedIn “Influencer,” if only out of a desire for prestige.
While we probably shouldn’t be holding our breath, it might behoove CEOs to embrace social media, according to their own subordinates. Back in May I wrote about a survey of 630 execs from companies with revenues of $500 million or more conducted by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, which found 89% have a personal social media account, and 76% think it’s good for CEOs (meaning, their bosses) to publicly use social media.
Asked why it was a good idea for top execs to have a public social media presence, 75% of respondents said it helps give the company a human face, as well as helping the CEO communicate with employees and build relations with the news media. Meanwhile 76% said having execs engage with social media “shows innovation” and 78% said it can have a positive impact on the company’s reputation. 72% said it helps the CEO understand what is going on in the company, and 70% said it has a positive impact on business results.
And last year I wrote about a survey by BRANDfog which asked employees for their views on their bosses’ use (or failure to use) social media. 81% of respondents said they believe that CEOs who engage in social media are better equipped than their peers to lead companies in the contemporary business environment, including “communicating values” and shaping a corporate reputation; 82% said they were “more likely” or “much more likely” to trust a company whose CEO and top execs use social media; and 78% said they would prefer to work for a company whose leadership is active on social media.