Should retail CEOs be on social media?
A just-released study from Lewis, a San Francisco-based marketing agency, found two in three of Forbes top 300 CEOs had no active social media presence.
Lewis said in the study that CEOs had been expected to be more socially active this year given that the “ramifications of Covid-19 put the spotlight on organizational leadership.”
Articles exploring whether CEOs should be on social media often cite time constraints and challenges many execs face finding their online voice among the reasons they avoid the practice. Many execs see social media geared toward younger generations and favor face-to-face interactions. Off-tone remarks can lead to social media backlash. Cybersecurity and legal risks have further been cited.
Yet articles well before COVID-19 had extolled how CEO posts online can help humanize a brand while supporting recruitment and retention.
“It is essential for CEOs to have an active presence on social media, not only to act as an ambassador for their business, but also to strengthen their own personal brand and raise their profile as a thought leader within their industry,” Nancy Elgadi, digital director at Right Angles, a reputation consultancy, recently told CEO Magazine.
Brunswick Group’s Connected Leadership study from June 2019 found 65 percent of U.S. employees saying it’s important for CEOs to actively communicate about their companies online. Sixty percent said they checked executive social media accounts before accepting a job offer.
Eighty percent of employees expect a CEO to communicate on social media during a crisis. Ninety percent of financial publication readers surveyed as part of Brunswick’s study felt the same.
LinkedIn was the most popular channel for CEOs, with 44 percent of the execs active on the platform. Twitter came in second at 15 percent. Over 60 percent of the Top 50 CEOs on social media as ranked by Brunswick use more than one platform.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon was named the most connected leader by Brunswick, with a strong digital presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
“Doug McMillon’s ownership of social media has changed the game for this company,” one Walmart associate told Brunswick’s researchers. “He understands that it connects us, drives us, and builds morale within the store. His presence gives that extra ‘spark’ we all need.”
- Global Study Shows Dominance in Engagement, Entertainment and E-commerce as Key to Success for World’s Top Brands in 2020 – Lewis Global Marketing
- Press Release: Brunswick’s Connected Leadership Defines New Expectations for CEOs – Brunswick Group
- Not embracing social media could stunt your climb to the C-suite – CEO Magazine
- Why The CEO and C-Suite Should be on Social Media – PR News
- A CEO’s Responsibility To Join The World Of Social Media – Forbes
- These CEOs have the strongest social media presence, survey shows – here’s why that matters – CNBC
- The Top 6 Excuses Executives Make to Avoid Social Media – Prophet
- Why CEOs Should Steer Clear of Social Media – Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see more benefits than drawbacks for retail CEOs being active on social media? What advice would offer to limit the related risks of engaging in social engagement outreach?