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Joey Little

Joey Little Vice President of Social Strategy

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Insights on why your upper management is not thinking about social media marketing

It all starts at the top, the decision makers, the shot callers, the check signers. Recent study shows that these managers, presidents and CEO's don't engage in social media leading to the non-understanding of why it is important.

Using the Fortune 500 list the following was discovered; 70% of all CEOs have no social presence. The percentage that do part take in social 25.9% are on LinkedIn, which was the highest percentage of all social sites.

  • 7.6% are on Facebook (compared to 50.5% of the US public is on Facebook)
  • 3.8% are on Twitter
  • 1.2% have a blog
  • 0.8% are on Google+
  • 0% are on Pinterest.

Surprisingly a small number of CEOs participate in social media. Of the 19 Fortune 500 CEOs currently on Twitter only 9 have tweeted at least once in the last 100 days. 

How do these CEOs stack up on Facebook? Out of the 7.6% on Facebook, 65.8% have less than 100 friends. The Facebook average is 140 friends for the regular user. Only 2 CEOs have more than 500 friends on Facebook. 

Since LinkedIn tends to be the social site CEO's go to, you would expect more activity but 25% of CEOs have not updated their LinkedIn with a current company or title.

  • CEOs with 500 connections or more on LinkedIn = 7.8%
  • Have more than 10 connections = 58.9%
  • 10 connections or less = 41.1%
  • 0 or 1 connection = 27.9%

So, if social media is a vital part of online experience, why do so many CEOs neglect it? There may be several reasons for this:

  • Risk of sharing the wrong information
  • All mistakes are magnified
  • Social media seems so overwhelming
  • Too much commitment to justify
  • Unfamiliar with how to use social media
  • No time for social media
  • Feel "too old" for social media

Even though the people at the top might not think it matters but it does. A recent survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey shows that 50% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company after following their tweets.

Employees believe that a social presence from upper management could have numbers positive outcomes (study from Brandfog of hundreds of employees from a wide range of companies)

What employees believe:

  • 94% think social CEO will Enhance the Brand
  • 93% think having a social CEO will help crisis management
  • 82% think companies with social CEOs are more trustworthy
  • 81% think social CEOs are better leaders
  • 78% think having a social CEO leads to better communication
  • 78% think having a social CEO will make it easier to recruit
  • 77% think a social CEO's company will have increased purchases
  • 64% think having a social CEO will improve transparency

This is the main reason upper management does not think or worry about social media marketing. Show them these numbers and maybe you'll get a different response.  Projections from IBM indicate that CEOs may soon take heed of these benefits and ramp up the social communications.

While the majority of Fortune 500 CEOs have yet to pick up the pace with personal social media efforts, current data shows that those who do are more likely to be rewarded with better engagement and loyalty at every entry level.

Its only human nature to fight something we don't understand. Is your company dumping tens of thousands into billboards and doing nothing with social media marketing? 

Show me a precise ROI on a billboard and I'll give you the same for social.


Joe Little

Internal/External Social Media Marketing Manager 


Office: 800.980.7488 X199

Jim Bell
Wow! Very interesting Joey. I think you hit it on the head with "mistakes magnified and no time for it." They want to watch their image. I know when I become 'friends' with someone on facebook in the industry, and I see them posting their party pictures, I know I would think twice about hiring them. When someone comes in for a job, I will search them on the social media platforms to see how they represent themselves. That will give an idea how they will carry themselves at work. I think that the CEOs and upper management are a little nervous what they share online that may scar their reputation. Good stuff.
Joey Little
Please disregard my party posts on Facebook Jim. :) Even though they are all bacon related.
Jim Bell
Bacon is o.k. I have seen some pretty risque photos from people in the industry. But again, bacon is o.k.
Ed Brooks
Many Dealer Principals aren't just ignoring Social Media - they are ignoring the Internet altogether. It's been easy to hire an "Internet Guy", not give him much authority, and direct anything the least bit digital in his direction. With the Internet "taken care of" in this fashion, the rest of management can ignore the fact that the business has changed. Have you noticed how much better the stores that have embraced digital from top to bottom seem to do?
Bryan Armstrong
A great post and well written. Those who do not engage online cannot understand the reality of the connections built. Oddly, I have good friends I have never met and great and loyal customers I couldn't identify IRL (in real life). The I-net Vendors set the false expectation that ALL i-net related ROI could be tracked years ago when"lead selling"was the only interaction. However, while activity can be tracked not all can be pegged to an ROI number. Amazing that a 10k piece mailer can generate 100 or less calls and be deemed a success and cost the same as 4,000 website visits that are discounted because an email was generated on "only" 1-2%. Those others that viewed an average of 4 pages and shopped your on-line lot for 3 min probably never came in... Ha!

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