In the past, for many organisations, the struggle to successfully incorporate social media was due to a lack of understanding and often a  downright fear from higher management. A report by Weber and Shandwick in 2010 highlighted this by revealing that 64% of CEOs from the largest companies did not use social media. However, fast forward to the 2012 study on the sociability of CEOs and we see a different picture.

Many CEOs from the top 50 largest companies are now actively engaging with a social community, with 66% of them are now deemed to be ‘social’. Geographically there is a difference, with 80% of CEOs in the US categorised as social compared to 67% of European CEOs. What is clear, however, is that there has been a shift in how active company leaders are becoming in the social sphere.

Why does it matter if the company CEO is Tweeting or appearing in company YouTube videos? It matters because 49% of corporate reputation is attributable to the CEO and their online presence becomes a reflection of the company they head. Research conducted by Brandfog found that as much as 82% of respondents felt they were more likely to trust a brand whose company team and CEO were using social media and even more staggeringly, 77% said that they would be more likely to buy from a company if the CEO was involved in social. That statistic is not to be sniffed at.

Yet CEOs must remember that simply having a social space isn’t enough – an empty shell of a page isn’t going to reflect well on the company. Engagement is key. Nobody wants to be bombarded with the CEOs every thought but some well thought out Tweets can go a long way. The company’s social media policy is also important. If the CEO isn’t following the rules, it doesn’t set a great example to the rest of their team.

In 2013 a brand without some kind of social media is almost unheard of. Combined with the public expecting to find a company’s social presence you can’t afford not to have the CEO participating in social.

Infographic courtesy of Weber Shandwick https://www.webershandwick.com/Default.aspx/Insights/ThoughtLeadership/ThoughtLeadership/2013/SocializingYourCEO2013

Picture courtesy of AxRh, Social Media Icons, https://bit.ly/SuQyDg, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0

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