Has your favourite CEO made the list of 100 most influential chief executives on social media? What about the boss of your company?
Although a surprising 61% of Fortune 500 CEOs still have no social media presence at all, interest has been steadily building in the three years since we first compiled this ranking.
This most recent list features both CEOs from large corporations — who have traditionally been slower to embrace social media — as well as a selection of tech CEOs, millennials, and younger entrepreneurs.
These rankings were compiled by Xinfu (global CEO experts and coaches) andHootsuite (the most widely used platform for managing social media). The rankings combined both quantitative and qualitative factors to determine the CEOs who are really making an impact.
Along with the sheer number of followers each CEO has, we looked at who is creating true “value-added content” for their followers. This was measured in terms of each CEO’s originality, macro-environmental and industry insight, and the light they shed on their own company.
We favored CEOs who were actively and consistently contributing to a leadership agenda, and reduced their score if their social media presence was seen as too self-promoting, too formal or ‘corporate’, or if we believed that the CEOs themselves had no direct involvement in writing and posting content. We also looked at the ‘Klout’ score of each CEO out of 100—which, while a rather raw measure, is an established third-party indicator of social influence and audience engagement across multiple networks.
Why should CEOs be on social media?
Social media represents a cultural shift, not just a technological one, and it certainly isn’t going away. If CEOs fail to adapt, they don’t risk being left behind; they will be left behind.
If social media is where consumers are, why wouldn’t CEOs want to be there? The truth is that many business leaders still have concerns about social as a potential distraction or source of controversy, but these risks can be easily mitigated with the right tools and training. When used correctly, social media can provide CEOs and their customers with a direct line of communication, boost PR and marketing efforts, increase productivity, and help gather competitor insights. As the face of their company, CEOs are realizing that a strong social presence doesn’t just raise their own personal kudos, but also builds trust, and forges a more personal connection with consumers.
Where are CEOs active on social media?
Twitter and LinkedIn remain the two primary networks for CEOs engaging on social media.
Many CEOs have started out by registering a basic profile on LinkedIn, without necessarily having any strategy for posting public updates. The game changer has been the growth of LinkedIn as a professional publishing platform. 33 of the Fortune 500 CEOs have been invited to join its exclusive ‘Influencer’ program, allowing them to write blog-style articles and reach a more targeted, professional audience.
Twitter offers CEOs the ability to claim a username and communicate instantly with a global audience. It is as much a place to gain industry insights and monitor breaking news as it is a place to broadcast updates. Time-pressed CEOs can quickly post 140-character updates, offer instant opinions, and link to their blog posts, photos, interviews or media appearances on other sites.
There is some convergence in the nature of the two platforms — there are rumors that Twitter will soon lift the 140-character restriction, and with the growth of mobile, LinkedIn is also encouraging CEOs and ‘Influencers’ to publish shorter and more frequent updates, in addition to long form articles.
However, both networks continue to have their place in corporate communications: the best social CEOs have become masters of both.
The future of CEOs on social media
As social continues to play an even bigger role in the lives of consumers, the mere presence of a CEO on social media will become trivial compared to the actual strengthof that presence. A simple social post can both amplify a message to the masses while opening the door for personal connection. CEOs, if they haven’t already, will learn to utilize both the intimacy and massive scope of social. LinkedIn and Twitter are already influencing how consumers think, as social media evolves into a primary source of how individuals receive information and form opinions.
We predict the trend of CEOs adopting and properly engaging with social media will continue to accelerate throughout 2016. We expect there will soon be a tipping point, in which the majority of CEOs will start finding success beyond the boardroom, and onto social media platforms as well. Below we have featured the top 30 CEOs on social media, please see the Xinfu website for the full list of the top 100: http://www.xinfu.com/the-top-100-ceos-on-social-media/