By adaptive - August 13th, 2013

For social media to offer corporations real world gains, these initiatives have to be lead from the top.

Many CEOs have been bastions of the old guard doggedly ignoring social media, but according to new research from Domo and, the wind of change is blowing across many boardrooms. Warren Buffet famously sent his first tweet in May, which perhaps gives a sign that CEOs in general now realise that they too need to improve their participation in their business’ social media activity. Buffet managed to gain half a million followers in the space of just two days.

Buy in from the very top of a corporation has been shown time and again to deliver tangible motivation, which when applied to social media, can vastly improve a corporation’s standing on these networks.

According to the report from Domo and, some CEO’s are becoming more aware of social media, but nearly two-third still have no presence at all.

CEO Social Media Usage

What is interesting from this research is when the actual penetration of social media usage by CEOs is considered in detail. It comes as no surprise that LinkedIn is the most popular network with nearly a third of CEOs maintaining an account. In fact LinkedIn is casting its net far wider than just business users, as according to Pew, 20% of US online users have a presence on that network.

This is a fascinating statistic if your business is looking for new social media channels, and has so far ignored LinkedIn as purely a business connections medium. The future could see LinkedIn commercialise to offer more business opportunities.

Making connections also seems be difficult for CEO, with only 25 in the Domo and survey having more than 500 connections on LinkedIn. However, of the CEOs that seem to get social media, JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon for instance has over 146,000 connections.

Twitter also seems to be becoming a favourite of CEOs. “Of the 28 Fortune 500 CEOs on Twitter, 19 (67.9%) are “active” Twitter users, which we defined as having tweeted in the last 100 days,” the Domo and report commented. “This may sound great, but it still means that only 3.8% of all Fortune 500 CEOs are actually using Twitter regularly. Having said that, 67.9% is still a pretty respectable engagement level. While Twitter's active global users are tweeting about twice per day, Fortune 500 CEOs who are active on Twitter are tweeting an average of 0.98 tweets per day.”

CEO Twitter Accounts

Facebook and Google+ are certainly not setting CEOs alight it would seem. CEOs are using their personal profiles to follow family and friends, but as a B2C channel, there is a healthy lack of interest across these networks. CEOs cite not enough time and being uncomfortable with the transparency that social media networks exposes them to. conclude: “Compared to last year, social presence among CEOs is stagnant on Facebook and Google Plus, but showing growth on Twitter and LinkedIn. While some of this growth is due to younger, more social CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer joining the Fortune 500, other CEOs previously on the list are slowly starting to embrace social media.”

Executive Buy-in Has Risen

What is abundantly clear is that CEOs need to engage more across their business’ social media networks. This doesn’t have to mean laying themselves bare, but consumers want to connect with brands and the companies that have created them. What better way than to connect with the CEO. Fear of transparency can be mitigated with well-defined social media policies. But in the end, it’s up to each CEO to ‘get’ what social media is doing for their businesses, and support these activities in any way they can.

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