It’s easy to assume that business leaders are too busy to be on social media. Yes, they have iPads, iPhones, and Android devices, but why would they be spending time online when they have more important things to address? They have so many responsibilities that they wouldn’t have time to be active on Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, or Facebook, right?
Wrong. Business leaders are quickly realizing that building a strong online presence is not just a hobby, but also a necessity. According to a 2012 IBM study, CEOs who don’t have a social media presence are not as competitive as their tech-savvy counterparts. This is because CEOs with a social media presence engage much more with their customers, employees, partners, and other stakeholders. Also, such CEOs bring transparency to their companies, which is a big step toward smart corporate governance. And let’s not forget that according to online statistics portal Statista’s projection, as many as 5 billion people will be using mobile phones in 2017. With most of the population on mobile, it makes perfect sense for CEOs to be online, too, to keep a finger on the pulse when it comes to changing demands and trends of the market. There’s a great amount of consumer insight that can be gathered online, and companies who fail to see this will lag behind their competition.
Recently, World of CEOs released their second global ranking of the top 60 CEOs on social media, covering the period of June to September 2013. From 30 CEOs, they doubled their list to accommodate the increase of CEOs with online presence. Let’s take a look at their top five:
1. Richard Branson
The Virgin Group’s chairman, Richard Branson, has an active blog. He’s also on Twitter and LinkedIn. Branson, often referred to as an “eccentric billionaire,” often posts about issues that concern him, from political to social. He also writes inspiring articles about leadership and management.
2. Jeff Weiner
CEO of LinkedIn Jeff Weiner is on Twitter and on LinkedIn, of course. As the CEO of the largest professional social networking site, his posts are usually about recruitment and social media. He also posts about leadership, making him a great resource for content on management.
3. Marissa Mayer
Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer is active both on Twitter and Yahoo’s very own Tumblr. She posts updates, announcements, and photos on Tumblr, while she often retweets comments on Twitter. Mayer chronicles Yahoo’s achievements to let people know how far the company has progressed. Her online presence jives with the image Yahoo wants to achieve — young, hip, and in-the-know.
4. Arianna Huffington
This president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post has a strong following on Twitter and Facebook She often shares inspirational posts, many of which are for empowering women to help them make better choices in their careers and personal lives.
5. Elon Musk
Elon Musk, the chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors and the founder of SpaceX, is the inspiration behind the character Tony Stark in Marvel’s Iron Man movies. It’s not surprising that many people are interested in his updates on Twitter, especially when he talks about the future of transportation and space travel.
These five CEOs sure know how to reach out to their audience. From them, business leaders can learn a thing or two on how to navigate the intricate world of social media. Of course, business leaders should be careful with what they post, or they might experience backlash on a massive scale. Millions of people are ready to criticize and analyze any questionable statement especially when it comes from high-profile personalities. This can lead to a huge PR nightmare. Thus, here’s a final piece of advice: Venturing into social media should be a thought-out decision for business leaders. Whatever they do online may have an impact on their companies, so having a clear objective and strategy will surely help.
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