76 Percent of Global Executives Want Their CEOs to be Social

A new study released today found that the majority of global executives (76 percent) believe that it is a good idea for CEOs to actively participate in social media. These executives recognize a multitude of returns when CEOs are social, including improved company reputation, business results and employee engagement. These findings, from global public relations firm Weber Shandwick and research partner KRC Research, demonstrate that social media is quickly becoming a critical leadership tool.

“CEOs are now expected to be chief content providers for their companies. Social media is not only an efficient and engaging way to relay information but is also linked in executives’ minds with being a better leader,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross , Weber Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist.

The report, The Social CEO: Executives Tell All, reveals deep insights on CEO sociability and provides a guide on the Seven Habits of Highly Social CEOs in order to inspire CEOs. The research was conducted through an online survey of 630 senior professionals from 10 countries around the world, including emerging and developed markets.

The survey defined social media participation as “posting messages, videos, pictures, etc. on a social media site.” Executives in the study are described as having a social CEO — those with CEOs who participate in social media — versus those with an unsocial CEO.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

  • CEO sociability yields multiple dividends – internally and externally
  • Executives report that they favor CEO sociability for several reasons: employees, themselves, are already social; CEO sociability instills positive feelings among employees; and social CEOs are considered better leaders than unsocial CEOs.
  • The top-ranked benefit of CEOs’ sociability, according to 80 percent of executives whose CEOs are social, is company news and information-sharing. Other important advantages include improving company reputation (78 percent), demonstrating company innovation (76 percent), “humanizing” the company, improving employee communications and building media relations (75 percent each) and improving business results (70 percent).
  • Unsocial doesn’t mean anti-social. A personal Facebook profile, Twitter or Weibo handle and YouTube/YouKu channel may not be attractive or feasible for every CEO. The study found that many CEOs who don’t participate in social media are actually already communicating with employees through company intranets (50 percent) and making themselves visible to external constituents on their company websites (62 percent).

G2Market Inside Scoop: Executive involvement in social media is an important component in your content marketing strategy – but it’s critically important to do it right. CEOs are the “big guns” and need to be strategic about the digital platforms in which they engage to ensure that they advance their message. That strategy includes planning to avoid disasters before they occur – that spontaneous “drunken tweet” or loose office party video.

(For more information visit www.krcresearch.com or http://www.webershandwick.com.)

- Allison Johnson
VP, Strategic Marketing, G2Market