CEOs See Record Engagement On LinkedIn During Pandemic

Omnicom’s TBWA has a unit called Livebosses, which specializes in executive communications on social networks. Among other tools, the operation has a panel that tracks 100 of the world’s most active CEOs across social media weekly.

The unit is out with a new study of panel findings comparing reaction of posts and engagement rates to content created since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis versus pre-pandemic posts.

Among the findings: For CEOs who have addressed the health crisis on LinkedIn, post engagement rates are up 90%.

Sixty of the CEOs tracked by the panel have communicated on LinkedIn since the beginning of the crisis; they are seeing exceptionally high engagement rates as a result. Half have seen the most reactions (“like,” “love” or “celebrate”) obtained on a LinkedIn post in 2020 from their content addressing the virus and its business impact.

While more CEOs post on Twitter, the study concludes they are missing an opportunity by not publishing on LinkedIn, where their employees spend more time. The study also found that the most successful posts express gratitude for internal teams, address business continuity and explain how the companies are giving back.



“People want to hear from their employers in turbulent times, and not just through traditional internal communications channels,” said Nicolas Bordas, who leads the Livebosses unit for TBWA. “CEOs are seen as the most credible sources of information but not enough of them are using their voice. The high engagement levels we saw in our analysis from those who did show just how important it is for leaders to not ‘go dark’ in crisis.”

The study found that the five most positively reacted to posts during the crisis through March 29 were from Alfred Kelly, CEO of VISA (Guaranteed job security at VISA in 2020); Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global (Importance of containment); Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott (Impact and consequences of the crisis);  Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft (Payment of hourly workers during crisis) and Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart (Acknowledgements to associates).

The main themes of the most reacted to posts included gratitude to internal teams; ensuring business continuity during the crisis, and how the company is helping, giving back or contributing.  

The least engaging and least successful posts from CEOs did not express enough gratitude to employees, were too company-centric, were presented without a photo, or included a reposted link without context or comment.

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