It's Official: Fortune 100 CEOs are Social Media Slackers

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We’re surprised, but not shocked, to find that 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 topline results:

  • Only two CEOs have Twitter accounts.
  • 13 CEOs have LinkedIn profiles, and of those only three have more than 10 connections.
  • 81% of CEOs don’t have a personal Facebook page.
  • Three quarters of the CEOs have some kind of Wikipedia entry, but nearly a third of those have limited or outdated information.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.

The full results of the research can be accessed and downloaded by clicking the image below.  And yes, we name names as to who is doing well, and who is screwing it up.

And for those who don’t want to be bothered with the graphs and stats, here’s a short slideshow with the summary and more visual impact.

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.

Our Take

In our opinion, the top CEOs appear to be disconnected from the way their own customers are communicating.  They’re giving the impression that they’re disconnected, disengaged and disinterested.  No doubt regulations such as Sarbanes Oxley and Reg-FD make CEOs cautious about comunicating freely, they’re missing a fabulous opportunity to connect with their target audience.  We suspect the reasons CEOs aren’t using social media is because of:

  1. Fear
  2. Lack of knowledge
  3. Time constraints

We’re not suggesting that every CEO should participate in every aspect of social media.  That’s a decision each CEO needs to make as part of an overall company marketing strategy.  But we are recommending that every CEO examines their online image and reputation.

The long and short of it is that CEOs have the opportunity to positively effect their company’s perception, visibility and brand experience by taking part in social media activities.  Right now, they’re absent from the discussion.  With the public already skeptical about large corporations, CEOs can’t afford to pretend that social media is not for them.