A few months ago, a survey said that CEOs who use social media are considered more trustworthy. And, perhaps more importantly, respondents of the survey said they are 77 percent more likely to buy from a company where the CEO uses social media to define company values.
One would think that this kind of news would have executives pulling out their smart phones to start tapping away at status updates.
Yet, that’s not the case. A new study shows that 70 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs do not engage in social media.
This isn’t altogether surprising. For instance, if you take one look around Nashville’s largest companies, you’ll be hard-pressed to find CEOs who use social media.
So, what’s the disconnect?
There are likely a number of reasons CEOs are hesitant to jump on the social media bandwagon:
- They don’t have time.
- They have more important priorities (after all, they’re responsible for running a company).
- It doesn’t interest them.
- There are PR repercussions – everything they say can be considered a statement for the company.
- Depending on their industry, they’re concerned about regulations and laws surrounding what they can say.
- They don’t want to make their life even more public.
I’ve long said that social media success boils down to personality and interest in using the tools. If executives are not interested in social media, it will shine through in their efforts and I doubt their investment will pay off.
But, CEOs DO Value Social Media
There’s a big difference between CEOs using social media themselves and believing in the importance of using social media for their company. Most CEOs recognize that social media will eventually replace traditional communication.
CEOs should definitely take the time to understand the value of social media and help shape the company’s vision for how their social media strategy is executed.
But that doesn’t mean that CEOs should be the ones pulling the trigger. Smart executives will hire the right team to lead and manage the company’s social media efforts.
And, even if the CEO doesn’t manage the social media accounts, he or she can still be engaged in the company’s efforts.
Scott Monty, the head of social media for Ford Motor Company, shared a comment on Mitch Joel’s recent blog post on the topic stating that they offer up periodic Q&A sessions on Twitter with their CEO. This is a great way to be transparent and provide access to company leadership without tying them down to the day-to-day management of social media.
The bottom line is that CEOs can indeed be a powerful and strategic weapon in a company’s social media arsenal. However, executive participation on the social web isn’t imperative to a company’s success.
What do you think? Should CEOs be engaging in social media?
This first appeared as a guest article for the Nashville Business Journal.
Image credit: Joi