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One year on, CEOs still not getting social

One year on, CEOs still not getting social

The 2014 CEO.com Social CEO Report, an annual survey that investigates the social media habits of business leaders, has been released. The results show a depressingly small increase in social activity from Fortune 500 business leaders over last year’s analysis.

While the report does show some growth in CEO use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram, a closer look at the data suggests that most of these business leaders either don’t “get” social media or they are actively avoiding it, possibly to focus on internal communications.

Amazingly, the CEO.com report shows that 68 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social presence on any of the major networks. Taking a deeper dive into the data reveals that while there has been significant growth in the number of Fortune 500 CEO accounts created versus last year’s results, the number of “active” accounts grew marginally. This suggests that nearly as many business leaders with existing accounts abandoned their use of social media.

How do those numbers stack up? There are now 42 Fortune 500 CEOs with Twitter accounts versus last year’s 28, which seems to indicate a decent level of growth. But in reality, the number of active accounts — those who have tweeted within the last 100 days — grew from 67.9 percent to 69 percent, a marginal increase.

When you add in the fact that almost half of these active users tweet just once a month, it paints a dismal picture. So dismal that when Satya Nadella of Microsoft became CEO, his first post-promotion tweet poked fun at his peers.

The most active CEO on Twitter is Jack Salzwedel of American Family Mutual Insurance Group. Mr. Salzwedel tweets an average of 4.82 times per day, which is 10 times that of the average Fortune 500 CEO.


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Facebook growth statistics tell a similar story. Only 8.3 percent of CEOs have Facebook accounts, compared to 7 percent last year. Of the CEOs on Facebook, 6 maintain fan pages, 21 have semi-private accounts, and 14 use private accounts.

Zuckerberg on Instagram

Above: Zuckerberg on Instagram… well, his dog on Instagram

LinkedIn, which has long been the social media stalwart of the business user, has seen negative growth among Fortune 500 CEOs, according to the report. This year, 25.4 percent have LinkedIn accounts, compared to 27.7 percent last year. However, it does seem that CEOs are more active on this platform.

Only eight of the Fortune 500’s top brass have a Google+ account, and thirteen have Instagram, which is mostly used to post personal pictures such as family members, vacations, and their pets (yes, we’re looking at you Zuckerberg).

All of this is at odds with recent research from Weber Shandwick that reveals executives want their CEOs to be social. In the study, executives overwhelmingly suggested that having a social CEO made the company seem more innovative, that it helped attract new customers, and that it had a positive impact on business results.

The full report is available to read at CEO.com.


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