While 77% of Fortune 500 companies have corporate Twitter accounts, the same cannot be said of Fortune 500 CEOs. In fact, fewer than one-third of Fortune 500 CEOs (32%) have at least one social media account according to a study by CEO.com and just 3.8% have Twitter accounts with at least one tweet in the past 100 days.
For those CEOs who do have one or more social media accounts, LinkedIn is most popular with 27.9% of Fortune 500 CEOs having LinkedIn accounts. Coming in second is Facebook with 7.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs having Facebook accounts. Twitter ranks third with 5.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs having Twitter accounts. Google+ is even less popular among the leaders of the biggest companies in America. Just 1% of Fortune 500 CEOs have Google+ accounts.
Interestingly, these statistics are quite different than data from the general U.S. population. Susan Adams of Forbes notes that the number of Fortune 500 CEOs on Facebook is “strikingly smaller than the U.S. population. According to Pew, 67% of online adults use Facebook.” Furthermore, research suggests that consumers actually want CEOs to be active on social media. As SocialTech News explains, “previous studies prove that CEOs who do participate in social media improve their brand’s image, communications and transparency immensely. Additionally, 77% of consumers surveyed say they would be more likely to purchase items and services from CEOs who participate in social media.”
With that said, the perception of Fortune 500 CEOs as active social media users is quite different from the reality. For many of these CEOs, an employee is likely publishing social media updates for the CEO rather than the CEO writing updates himself (or herself). Making matters worse, a large number of CEO followers on social media sites have been found to be fake. For example, 30% of the Twitter followers of both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (the most popular CEO on social media) and Republic Services CEO Donald Slager are fake as are 22% of Warren Buffet’s Twitter followers.
Bottom-line, take the statistics with a grain of salt because the perception is not necessarily the reality. Fortune 500 CEOs who actively and personally engage on social media are not the norm, but wouldn’t it be interesting if they were?