Social media may be the wave of the future for marketing, PR, and customer service, but it’s a wave that many executives seem determined to avoid, according to a series of surveys focused on bosses at big companies.
In the latest such finding, a survey by influence marketing software firm Augure found that just 30% of executive directors at the top 100 companies in NASDAQ are present and active on social networks. That’s less than half the rate of the general population; according to Pew, 72% of U.S. online adults use social media.
Among the CEOs who manage to drag their well-compensated posteriors on to social media, the top “influencers” were Apple’s Tim Cook, Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo. Top CEOs notable for their absence from social media include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, ex-Microsoft boss Steven Ballmer, Brian Krzanich of Intel Corporation and John T. Chambers of Cisco Systems (obviously being up to your neck in tech doesn’t make you more likely to use social media).
In terms of specific platforms, unsurprisingly LinkedIn led the way, with 23% of executives maintaining a profile on the professional site, followed by Twitter with 11% of execs, then Google+ with 8%, and Facebook with 5%. Again, none of these stats would seem to suggest that top execs are setting the world on fire with social media.
The Augure survey results jibe with some previous studies on the retiring social habits of our bespoke-attired corporate overlords. In August a survey by CEO.com found that just 32% of Fortune 500 bosses have any sort of social media presence at all. Similarly CEO.com found 7% were on Facebook, 5.6% on Twitter, and 27.9% on LinkedIn.
It might behoove CEOs to get on board with social media -- at least, that’s what their underlings think. 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.