CEOs should Tweet from the Top…

Posted in: Advice and ideas, Opinion- Oct 27, 2012 Comments Off

[Originally posted at the Salesforce Down Under Blog]

“Embracing social media isn’t just a bit of fun, it is a vital way to communicate, keep your ear to the ground and improve your business.”

BransonThese aren’t the words of someone with a vested interest in Social Media.  These are the words of someone who knows: Sir Richard Branson.  The Virgin boss recently penned a piece on LinkedIn asking why more bosses weren’t using Social Media.  “So why are only 16% of CEOs currently participating in social media?” he asks, calling out figures from a recent study by IBM into Global CEOs.

It’s a common question and CEOs are increasingly coming under the spotlight for their shortcomings in this area.  This Infographic  reveals that a very few percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs are using Social Media at all (finding that 70 per cent have no social presence whatsoever); while this blog post at LeadingCompany.com.au found that only four of the top 100 ASX CEOs used Twitter.

Naturally, for a lot of these very senior, time-poor and commonly risk-averse executives, fear and uncertainty is a key inhibitor.  But how long can that serve as an excuse for missing out on a major opportunity for driving leadership, innovation and collaboration?

Figures from a study done by Brandfrog  are very revealing about what employees think about a Social CEO:

• 77% believe a social CEO will increase business purchases

• 78% want to work for a social CEO

• 81% believe social CEOs are better leaders

• 82% believe social CEOs are more trustworthy

• 93% believe social CEOs are better equipped for crisis management

• 94% believe social CEOs will enhance the company’s brand

As Kate Leaver (@kateileaver) points out, the brevity of Twitter – for both outgoing and incoming news – is one of the reasons it is particularly well-suited to busy executives.  Her five point step-by-step guide ot getting started is a great place to begin .

But above all, CEOs have a duty to lead from the front and as business goes social, they should lead the way to where everyone is going.  Take a leaf out of Salesforce.com CEO @Benioff as a guide .

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