Earlier this week, my pal Gini Dietrich (even though she has zero skills in Draw Something, we are still cool) wrote a post showcasing social media usage by CEOs in the Fortune 500. Unsurprisingly the usage in this group was quite low:
- 3.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs use Twitter
- 7.6% of these CEOs are on Facebook
- 25.9% of them are on LinkedIn – not surprising given their role in partnerships and recruiting
- .8% are on Google+ – Larry Page is the leader in the clubhouse1.2% contribute to blogs
- 0 are on Pinterest
The report, generated from CEO.com, should really not surprise anyone. The main reason for this is that these CEOs of these companies get paid boatloads of money to care about things that impact their bottom lines and dividends for shareholders, not communicating with folks 140 characters at a time.
One thing that I fear coming from this report is a panties-in-a-bunch overreaction to the numbers above within the social media community. Rallying posts of “10 Reasons why CEOs must Tweet”, “Five reasons your CEO should ENGAGE with your fans,” and other nonsensical posts. When these posts roll out, they will all have the same thing in common – social media professionals are taking themselves too seriously and some are looking to jack up consulting rates from companies scared of falling behind.
The problem with this is that within the echo chamber that is social media, we all tend to take ourselves way too seriously. Sure CEOs should know what is going on within their company and marketing or communications department. They should also care about what is being said about their brand overall and how their employees feel about the company.
Does social media play a role in this? You betcha! But is social media the only factor in this? Hell no.
Social media is in an infancy stage within most organizations and has some ways to grow. Sure some companies on a fast-track growth model might benefit from a CEO getting out there on social as it can humanize a brand and build up important contacts with influential reporters. But I would argue that for the most part, CEOs have more on their plates than what is trending in their business and that they should care more about pluses on their P&L sheet rather than +1 on Google+.
So what are you supposed to do with this? Keep calm and carry on and keep a steady stream on what your team is doing in social media flowing uphill. This can help you avoid having top executives getting spooked with chicken little posts (mentioned above) on why your company sucks because your CEO isn’t Pinning cute kittens all day.