Consumers, stakeholders and even journalists have been clamoring for more visibility from the C-suite at brands and businesses, and CEOs and other top executives are increasingly putting themselves out there, according to new research from social media consulting firm Grisdale Advisors.
The firm reports that social media use among C-suite execs is on the rise, with 66 percent of respondents in a recent survey saying they use social media professionally, and 70 percent of those adding that they regularly create and share original content.
That means the so-called “lurker” ratio among socially active executives (just 25 percent) is opposite of that found among the general population (around 75 percent), the new study reveals.
Interestingly, chief executive-in-chief Donald Trump’s Twitter use has had little impact
Forty percent said it had no effect, and 19 percent said they don’t even pay attention to the president’s tweets.
The survey reveals that executives active on social media say they use it as one of their main sources of news, communication and engagement with employees, colleagues, customers, influencers and opinion leaders, with almost equal presence on Facebook (71 percent) and LinkedIn (70 percent). Twitter ranked a distant third among survey respondents, at 38 percent.
“This research gives us much-needed data about how and why executives are using social media for professional purposes,” said Grisdale founding partner Tim Collins, in a news release. “It tells us that, increasingly, executives recognize the power of social media to build and grow their sphere of influence.”
Reasons for social participation (or non) are myriad
Of the execs who use social media professionally, 87 percent read news and others’ posts. They choose to follow experts in their profession, colleagues, employees and, to a lesser extent, competitors. Forty percent plan to use social media more in the future to expand their customer base and join what they agree is now mainstream media.
C-suiters who don’t use social media as a professional communication tool cite a preference for a more direct style of communicating (23 percent), say someone else in the organization handles it (20 percent) and say it’s too time-consuming (19 percent). The remainder are concerned about risks to their career and company, and don’t think the benefits outweigh these risks.
That said, 62 percent of this group are interested in future use.
The findings are part of a new national survey of 300 C-suite execs across a broad range of companies, geographies, ages and gender. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 5 percent and was gathered among C-Suite representatives from all regions of the country. Read the full report here.