Today’s CEO Is Online And Social [Study]

Weber Shandwick is out with the third edition of its audit for the online presence of CEOs from the biggest companies. Socializing Your CEO III: From Marginal to Mainstream offers a great deal of insight into the C-suite and the importance of social networking for aspiring CEOs today.

The PR firm audited a series of sites and platforms to see how CEOs engage socially. Taken as a whole, the study comprises more than four years of research, from 2010 to this day. A “social CEO” will have:

  • created a public and verifiable social network account;
  • engaged on the company website through messages, pictures or video;
  • appeared in a video on the company YouTube channel
  • authored an external blog

For those not interested in the details of the study, the key findings are:

  • 2x increase in social CEOs since 2010
  • 80% of global CEOs engage socially (a 122% increase since the first Socializing Your CEO study)
  • 76% of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business are social online
  • 52% greater social network use among newer CEOs vs. longer tenured CEOs
  • 68% of global CEOs have a presence on their company website
  • 54% of global CEOs appear in company video
  • 28% of global CEOs participate in social networks
  • 25% increase in European social CEOs

Photo by Banter Snaps on Unsplash

A breakdown of the stats

While the great majority of CEOs from the world’s top companies are social, not all of them engage the same with the public and / or their peers and staff. Most prefer their company website

(68%), while others spend more time on the company’s YouTube channel (38%). Social networking alone grabbed 28% of the CEOs (up from 16% in 2010).

The takeaway is that, now more than ever, companies and their respective black suits recognize the importance of online engagement. No names were mentioned, but I think T-Mobile and their CEO John Legere are highly representative of this mindset. Which goes hand in hand with this remark from the surveyors: “Communicating online is the norm for today’s CEOs rather than the practice of a select few.” It’s the norm for everyone, really. And a smart CEO knows that the closer he/she gets to the customer, the better the company will look in the eye of the public.

Other findings:

  • The company website continues to drive the surge in CEO sociability
  • Corporate video is fast becoming a CEO standard
  • U.S. CEOs are on the leading edge of social with Europe not far behind
  • Europe registered the highest growth in recent years

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

The bio is no longer black & white

Today’s executives no longer have dull online profiles on the company’s website. Not too long ago, a CEO’s bio was a white snipped with some text on it against a grey background. Not anymore. Most companies today recognize the importance of embedding the CEO’s social ties right in the biography page.

The reason is not so much to befriend the public, but to give stakeholders everything they need when they look up this person. The research has also shown that the CEO’s profile on the company website is usually the first piece of content that shareholders search for. According to Weber, “One-dimensional biographies describing the CEO’s experience are things of the past. The bio of tomorrow’s most engaged CEOs will be ones curated with rich content, whether it be social media, articles, pictures or video.”

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