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Social CEO

CEO’s who participate in social media (Social CEO’s) are seen as better leaders. That’s the conclusion reached in this chart by  Weber Shandwick and KRC Research in their survey of 630 C suite executives.

66% of C suite executives say it risky to have an unsocial CEO, versus the 49% who says its risky to have a Social CEO. Today, 42% of CEO are social; this is expected to increase by 50% within 5 years.

Why are Social CEO’s seen as better leader than unsocial CEO’s? What are the secrets they’ve learned? Here’s what the Top 15 Social CEO’s tell us social media taught them:

  1. RICHARD BRANSON (FOUNDER, VIRGIN GROUP): “We’ve been using our social media channels to spread the message that we are just as interested in making a difference as making a profit.” Over half a million check Branson’s regularly updated blog each month, offering an exclusive insight into the workings of Virgin.
  2. JEFF WEINER (CEO, LINKEDIN): “The key is to concentrate extremely hard on getting the right processes and infrastructure in place early on. Otherwise, you spend far too much time fixing things later.”
  3. MARISSA MEYER (CEO, YAHOO): “Yahoo sees tweets (from news figures and news outlets) as an as important information source of news for many of our users.” Yahoo and Twitter have partnered to incorporate Tweets into the Yahoo newsfeed.
  4. ADRIANA HUFFINGTON (GROUP PRESIDENT, AOL): “Social media allows like-minded people to coalesce, and has increased the ability of companies to tap into their customers’ humanity. There’s a much higher bar for engagement with social media and, once in, a company can no longer easily hide behind a glossy, expensively photographed ad campaign.”
  5. ELON MUSK (CEO, TELSA MOTORS): “Engineers interested in working on autonomous driving, pls email autopilot@teslamotors.com. Team will report directly to me.” Elon Musk recruited engineers using Twitter. His approach worked because he was reaching precisely the creative, savvy professionals he looked to bring into his companies.
  6. ANAND MAHINDRA (CHAIRMAN/MD, MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA):  ”I think it’s very important for people to feel that when they work in our group, it’s not just remuneration, its not just the work reward but you will get recognized by what you do. I believe that is one of the most powerful motivators for any one in life.”
  7. KAI-FU LEE (CHAIRMAN/CEO, INNOVATION WORKS): “Social media has more power in China than it does in any other country. While controls are tight, one must realize that social media is revolutionizing the way people communicate with and other and can change China for the better.”
  8. JEFF IMMELT (CEO, GE): “Social media helps GE keep to its goal of always being a learning company. Social media gives me access and speed to customers and employees I could not otherwise have.”
  9. JACK WELSH (FOUNDER, JACK WELSH MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE): “Social media is changing the relationship between you and your employees, you and your customers. You cannot have a bad service issue and sit there. It will be on social media rapidly and your reputation can be stained for months, weeks or years. You have to be able to respond to errors quickly.”
  10. ANGELA AHRENDTS (SENIOR VP-RETAIL AND ONLINE STORES, APPLE): ”You have to be totally connected with everyone who touches your brand.”
  11. MARC BENIOFF (CHAIRMAN & CEO, SALESFORCE): ”As a marketer, as a sales professional, you’d better know what’s happening on those social networks because those are your customers. We’ve seen brands go haywire when one tweet goes wrong. Are you paying attention to that? Do you really know what’s happening with your customers? That’s the question.”
  12. ERIC SCHMIDT (EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, GOOGLE): “Every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.”
  13. RUPERT MURDOCH (CHAIRMAN & CEO, 21st CENTURY FOX): “There is so much media now with the Internet and people, and so easy and so cheap to start a newspaper or start a magazine, there’s just millions of voices and people want to be heard.”
  14. DICK COSTOLO (CEO, TWITTER): “Twitter quickly became an alternative form of communicating to get help, in ways that phone calls and text messaging couldn’t. I think Jeff Bezos is amazing. The way he’s thought about building out the platform that the company has is exactly the kind of model we want to build at Twitter.”
  15. REID HOFFMAN (CHAIRMAN, LINKEDIN): “The impact of the Internet on business will continue to increase massively. CEOs will need to understand their customers and the environment that their customers live and work in — which will be increasingly ‘social’. your brand as a CEO and as a company through social media will be key to attracting the right talent. The principal lesson that I’ve learned is to always be learning and never believe that you know enough.

Did you learn something from these Top Social CEO on what it takes to be a better leader? Did their use of social media inspire you? What did their learning teach you?

Social CEO Inforgraphic

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Rob Petersen

About Rob Petersen

Rob Petersen is an experienced advertising and marketing executive and President of BarnRaisers, a full service digital marketing agency that builds brands based on proven relationship principles and ROI. He is on the MBA Faculty of Rutgers CMD and is the author of two books on digital marketing.

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