If you’re reading this blog and not reading Mashable or Techcrunch on the regular…well, thanks – but, come on, seriously? I take it most of you have seen the following information the past few days…so I’m just going to sum it up and offer my thoughts on the situation.

Fortune 100 CEOs:

  • As of September 2006, among Fortune 500 CEOs, Sun Microsystems’ Jonathan Schwartz was the only one who has a blog which he updated regularly.

(Source: http://www.populationstatistic.com/archives/2006/09/17/chief-blogging-officer/)

The top CEOs in the country appear to be mostly absent from the social media community.  That’s the result from research we conducted over the past several weeks.  We looked at Fortune’s 2009 list of the top 100 CEOs to determine how many were using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, or had a blog.  The results show a miserable level of engagement.  Here are the major results:

  • Only two CEOs have Twitter accounts.
  • 13 CEOs have LinkedIn profiles, and of those only three have more than 10 connections.
  • 4 of the CEOs only have 1 connection.
  • No CEO in top 20 has a Linkedin Profile.
  • Most Connected of Top CEOs on Linkedin is Michael Dell with 500.
    • 81% of CEOs don’t have a personal Facebook page. Meaning, only 19% of Fortune 100 CEOs have a Facebook Profile.
    • CEO with the most friends – Kenneth Lewis of Bank of America – 13 Facebook Friends
      • Three quarters of the CEOs have some kind of Wikipedia entry, but nearly a third of those have limited or outdated information.
      • Not one Fortune 100 CEO has a blog.
    • Warren Buffet – Berkshire Hathaway – 7441 Followers – Not Following Anyone – Last Post: February 20th
    • Alan Lafley (Proctor & Gamble) – 33 Followers – No Updates

Topline Results

Twitter was the least used service by Fortune 100 CEOs, despite being one of the fastest growing social media networks. Wikipedia had the highest level of engagement among the Fortune 100 CEOs, yet 28% of those entries had incorrect titles, missing information or lacked sources.

LinkedIn, a site mainly used for professional networking, only attracted 13 Fortune 100 CEOs, five of which had just one connection. Three CEOs stood out from the pack on LinkedIn, each having more than 80 connections. However, they are all from technology companies – Michael Dell (Dell), Gregory Spierkel (Ingram Micro) and John Chambers (Cisco).

While there were slightly more Fortune 100 CEO users on Facebook than on LinkedIn, most of them had limited information on their page and few friends. More surprising is that no Fortune 100 CEO has a public blog that could be easily found.

Source: http://www.uberceo.com/home/2009/6/23/its-official-fortune-100-ceos-are-social-media-slackers.html

Fortune 100 Companies:

As Fortune 100 companies go, Twitter easily takes the top spot, according to a recent study from PR firm Burson-Marsteller.

According to their findings,

  • 54 percent of the Fortune 100 companies have a Twitter presence
  • 46% do not have any twitter presence
  • 32 percent have a blog.
  • 29 percent have an active Facebook Page.
  • 28% have an inactive or outdated Facebook Page
  • 43% have no Facebook page
    • Those with active pages are overwhelmingly consumer and promotionally focused
  • At companies using only one of these tools, at 76 percent of them, the tool of choice is Twitter.

More interesting than these raw numbers, however, are some further insight into how Fortune 100 companies are using social media. Other key findings:

  • Only 17 percent use all three mediums: Twitter, Facebook, and a blog.
    • 40% use no channels
    • 21% use 1 channel
    • 22% use 2 channels
    • Of the Fortune 100 companies on Twitter:
      • 94 percent use it for news/announcements
      • 67 percent for customer service
      • 57 percent for deals and promotions.
      • 11 percent use it for HR and Employee Recruitment
      • The average Fortune 100 Twitter account has 5,234 followers. The median is 674 followers.
      • 69% of those with Twitter accounts post 4 or more times per week

Source: http://mashable.com/2009/08/03/twitter-fortune-100/

So we do we make of this data? Are these CEOs so absent and disengaged because they choose to be? Do they simply not value social media, do they not UNDERSTAND the value of social media. Perhaps it’s simply a time management issue…

Regardless, I don’t see what HARM could possibly result from a Fortune 100 CEO having someone else build out his/her Linked In page and update the Wikipedia entry. I wouldn’t advocate that for actual one-one interaction like on Twitter. But for a static page, why not?

Real Time interaction is a lot to expect from some of the nations top business leaders…But what about blog posts? 5 years ago, no one expected to be privy to the inner musings of a Fortune 100 CEO. At this point, things have changed. Consumers want and demand that brands be personalized and individualized through the voices of those who exist within the company – specifically, the CEO. Apparently, most either CEOs don’t care or just haven’t heard that expectations have changed, and they need to adapt – lest a young up and comer usurp power after finding favor with the public and investors through 1-1 engagement on Twitter or through Blogging.

What do you think – are we expecting too much from these time crunched workaholics? Or are we expecting them to evolve their personal habits in parallel to the brand’s?

IMHO – They should, without a doubt, be using every means necessary to build a relationship with the masses. The CEO is THE spokesman for the organization, trusted by shareholders and investors, and looked to by consumers for the final word about the brand.

We’ve reach a point where Social Media is becoming the primary vehicle by which we learn about an organization and communicate with them. Customer Service, Sales, Branding, Advertising, Marketing, PR – All Funneled into Social Media. And thus – THE VOICE of the company, the authoritative voice whose heard above all else, should CERTAINLY, be using these platforms and making his/her presence felt to the public.

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Comments
  1. Try cross-referencing your list against their birthdays…I bet most are well into their 50s or 60s. I’d actually love to know the answer!

  2. Keith Trivitt says:

    I’m actually going to disagree with you on this one, David. Truth be told, a lot of CEOs are actively running their companies, an effort that takes a tremendous amount of time, energy and attention. The thing with Fortune 100 CEOs is that all of them are accountable to their shareholders. To that end, that means their No. 1 goal is to increase market share and share value for their stokeholders. Unfortunately, we are still at the point where this is difficult to do while you are constantly blogging, updating Facebook and Twitter and the like.

    That’s not to say that it can’t be done or that it should not be done. Just look at what Tony Hsieh has done with @zappos. I’m just as big of an advocate of social media as you are, but I’m not entirely convinced that CEOs absolutely HAVE to be engaged in social media. From a shareholder’s perspective, as long as they are working to increase stock value, then aren’t they doing their job? Of course, the argument could be made that part of their job is reaching out and engaging with shareholders. If that is the case for a certain company (say a major Tech company), then absolutely, I think a CEO should be engaged in social media.

    After taking another moment to think about this some more, I will change my tone to this: Does a CEO need to be engaged in every level of social media (blogs, Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, etc.)? No, at least in my opinion. What they do need to do is what most of us advocate all along: find whichever medium it is that their consumers/shareholders engage in the most and actively participate in that. It could be as simple as a weekly video blog, which NCAA President Myles Brand does because that is how NCAA fans engage with their favorite teams (video — SportsCenter). Or it could be a collaboration of social media platforms. Bottom line: If a Fortune 100 CEO is going to be active in social media, make sure it is just that: active. Don’t just do it because pundits (like us) are outraged that more of them aren’t on Twitter or Facebook.

    Keith Trivitt (@KeithTrivitt)

  3. [...] Times. She added that a growing number of chieftains are embracing social media. According to a study from PR firm Burson-Marsteller, 54% of the Fortune 100 companies have a Twitter presence while 32% [...]

  4. [...] not all managers and business owners have been so quick to embrace social networking.  Research reports from around the Web reveal that many leaders have yet to jump in with both feet.  And while [...]

  5. [...] not all managers and business owners have been so quick to embrace social networking.  Research reports from around the Web reveal that many leaders have yet to jump in with both feet.  And while [...]

  6. Would be interesting to get a 2011 update on this!

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