Skip to Content

How Social Is Your CEO?

A new Weber Shandwick study looked at the online activities of CEOs from the top 50 companies in the 2014 Fortune Global 500 rankings.

Their findings were published by the Harvard Business Review: “It’s clear that having a social presence, no matter how small, puts CEOs in a better position to share their stories and connect with a large audience. Plus, there may be reputational benefits that come with being online. We found that CEOs who engage on social media more often are also among the most well regarded.”

The research shows five significant changes that have contributed to CEOs’ increased sociability:

The company website is the top destination for CEO communications. “Nearly seven in 10 CEOs (68%) have a visible presence on company websites beyond just their name and bio. This represents a two-fold surge in CEO website visibility since 2010 (32%), reflecting the larger trend of companies becoming self-publishers.”

Corporate video is fast becoming the new normal for CEOs. “CEOs appearing in video, either on the company website or YouTube channel, is three times as high as it was in 2010 (54% and 18%, respectively). Some CEO videos are repurposed clips of CEOs reporting on quarterly earnings and at industry-related events, while others are directed at customers.”

LinkedIn was the most popular social network for top executives in 2014. “The rate of CEOs using LinkedIn nearly quadrupled since 2010, going from 4% to 22% and reflecting the rising importance of social connectedness. Over 1.7 million CEO-titles now appear on LinkedIn when searching on the site.”

Newcomer CEOs are quicker to take up social. “New CEOs (in office three years or less) are now just as social as those with more than three years at the helm.”

Women executives are raising their voices through social. “We also examined the social media usage of female executives on Fortune’s 2014 Global Most Powerful Women in Business (MPW) list. We found that 76% of them are social — i.e., they are on their company websites (60%), company YouTube channels (40%) and social networks (30%). This high rate is in line with that of the top 50 global company CEOs we analyzed. Women are using these channels to express themselves.”

Socializing Your Ceo III Exec Summary