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28 June  2009 ~

How are CEO’s using Social Media A recent study by UberCeo.com, took a look at the social media profiles of all of the Fortune 100 CEO’s across sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Wikipedia.  As we’ve talked about here on this blog, at its basic level social media is a “conversation” and the benefit for a business is to engage in those relevant conversations that are already occurring online as they pertain to their business.   The goal for engaging in these “social media conversations” is simple – tap into a natural curiosity relevant to your business, grow that into a relationship and then over time convert that relationship into economic benefit.   Funny, if you take the term “social media” out of that last statement, isn’t this what most business leaders do on a daily basis anyway?  So we were excited to see the results of this study and learn how CEO’s are using social media to expand on what they are already doing on a daily basis. 

The Results

To date, we have personally spoken to well over 100 CEO’s and it is clear that most don’t understand social media and quickly dismiss it by saying they don’t have time for it.  One major reason for this could be because no one has ever properly “taught” them how to strategically use social media for their business and showed them it is simply an extension of the functions they are already performing. However this takes time to learn and understand, and everyone is time constrained, so many CEO’s simply have not embraced social media in a meaningful way yet.  It seems that our experience aligns with that of the Fortune 100 CEO’s. 

According to UberCeo.com, here were the results:

  • Twitter – Only two have Twitter Accounts – Warren Buffet  & Alan Lafley – and neither are “active” – meaning while Buffet has over 7000 followers he is not following anyone and hasn’t updated his account since Feb 2009 and Lafley has 33 followers and has never  provided updates to his.
  • LinkedIn – Thirteen have LinkedIn Profiles but only 3 have over 10 connections – Michael Dell has 500+, John Chambers (Sun) 82 and Gregory Spierkel (Ingram Micro) has 213.  As we know, there are 30+ ways to increase the effectiveness of one’s LinkedIn Profile, it would be interesting to rate the effectiveness of each CEO’s Profile, perhaps for some future blog post.
  • Facebook – 19 had Facebook pages but the one with the highest amount of friends had only 13.  Clearly this is not something any of them are active on.
  • Wikipedia – 76 had a listing here but 21 had out of date information or simply nothing more than their name listed here.
  • Blogs – The big goose egg!  Not one had a blog that UberCeo.com could find.

Our Takeaway

On the surface of this report, one could try to make the statement that social media is not useful as evidenced by the lack of use from the leaders of the Fortune 100.  However, that would be an extremely naïve perspective.  As noted above, social media is another conduit for what these business leaders are already doing on a daily basis.  If there social media activities are integrated with their PR, marketing and operational elements, these are not “time-wasters”, these are actually “time-savers” as they extend the businessman’s communication reach and allows them to engage in more perceived one-to-one discussions than they are currently physically capable of doing.  Putting politics aside, Obama did exactly this as he embraced social media as was able to communicate with his constituents on a perceived one-to-one basis and look where that got him.

We could spend another full blog post laying out the tactics each CEO could use for each one of these tools (and we may possibly do that in the near term).  The answer is the same for web sites or social media or any other effective communication media, etc – without an integrated marketing plan, the effectiveness of any of these are marginalized.  Each of these social media elements is like the proverbial “billboard” – so when these CEO’s do better understand social media, the need to take a strategic approach to it.  Metaphorically speaking, with a haphazard approach to social media, a company will end up with a series of billboards in a jungle.  Conversly, a company that pursues an integrated approach, will own a string of billboards interconnected along the main interstate pushing prospects to their shop which just happens to be sitting just off the next exit ramp.

To Learn More
To see more on the study – you can visit www.UberCeo.com
To learn more about how to effectively use LinkedIn – we offer a free eCourse at www.42for24.com

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1 Comment »

  1. Chris,

    We have found the same types of stats with the CEOs and business owners that we serve. When well-planned and executed, social media is a powerful marketing tool. Thanks for your information on this!

    Comment by Ken Kaufman July 28, 2009 @ 10:33 am

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