How do you Rank Against Fortune 500 CEOs on Social Media?

By: Sarah Reynolds, Marketing Manager – Hoovers

Social media undoubtedly plays a front and center role when it comes to marketing strategy, as evidenced by a number of top-performing social brands like Whole Foods, Coca-Cola, and Oreo. It’s clear that companies are allocating more spend toward social media; however, the 2014 Social CEO Report byDomo/ reveals that nearly 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs do not have a social presence themselves. Of the 32% of CEOs who actively engage in social media, the majority do so only on one platform.

In fact, of the 500 CEOs studied, only 42 are on Twitter. LinkedIn seems to be the favored network, as 125 Fortune 500 CEOs have a LinkedIn profile.


It’s clear that CEOs understand the competitive advantages of a strong social presence for their organizations—like bolstered brand awareness, personalized customer engagement, and higher profit— but the understanding cannot end there. These C-level executives should be enthusiastically leveraging social media for a number of reasons as such a presence helps them:

  • Stay in the Game: From Virgin Group founder and Chairman Richard Branson toFacebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, the world’s most renowned and profitable players are logging on and enjoying the social spotlight. The bottom line is that only 32% of Fortune 500 CEOs have at least one profile on some sort of social network, according to the report. You must be one of them to stay on top of your competitors and keep abreast of evolving buyer patterns.
  • Build Credibility: Social media directly correlates with innovation; C-level executives with an active social presence are considered more influential, groundbreaking, and inventive because they’re keeping up with evolving cyber trends and keeping their finger on the pulse. Even world-renowned—albeit less tech-savvy—influencers have joined social, like 84-year-old business magnate Warren Buffett. Buffet created a Twitter account in 2013 to build credibility and join social conversations taking place about him. (To date, he’s only Tweeted five times.)

There are a number of ways C-level executives can join the social movement. If you’re part of the majority of CEOs without a social presence—or as strong a presence as desired—consider the following best practices for effectively leveraging social media now:

1. Promotion: “Promotion” isn’t as challenging as it sounds, when it’s executed correctly. Members of the C-suite can leverage social media to spread the word about a number of things, from the non-profit they’re supporting to the recent product expansion they’ve unveiled.

2. Thought Leadership: If you don’t think there is a desire amongst buyers for your thoughts on social media, think again. According to the report, the average growth in Twitter followers for CEOs is about 70 per day (for Warren Buffet it was an incredible 838 followers per day). In other words, everyday buyers want to hear the thoughts and advice of a highly respected and profitable business leader. Social media represents a way for you to cast your light and influence and contribute to your industry’s conversations.

3. Personal Commentary: Yesterday’s PR is today’s tweet; today, social commentary is a formal statement. Social media is a way for companies to take a quick, impactful public stand to millions of people worldwide. So, as a respected thought leader and decision maker for your company and your respective industry, it’s important that you sound off when necessary—otherwise you will appear silent and uninterested.

As a CEO or marketer, you have a rare opportunity to bring your skills and personality to life via social media. So what steps will you take today to become a trusted, respected C-level executive?


This post originally appeared on the Hoovers blog and was re-posted to the Mad Marketer site with the author’s permission.