CEOs opt out of social media: study

As many as seven out of 10 CEOs at Fortune 500 companies have no presence on social media, according to a new survey.

The study, sponsored by Domo and, found that 70% of CEOs have no social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google Plus.

The 2012 Fortune 500 Social CEO Index, which was created to investigate the social media habits of leading CEOs, also found that, while CEOs lagged far behind the general population in terms of overall social media participation, they are more active on one social network — LinkedIn — than the general public.

LinkedIn proved to be the most popular among Fortune 500 CEOs, with 26% on the network, compared to just 20.15% of the US general public.

According to local marketing agency, Digital Lab, LinkedIn in South Africa has seen 45% increase in users in 2012, to 1.6 million people with 172,018 business owners and CEOs using the platform to network.

Link to InfoGraphic

On other major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, the presence of Fortune 500 CEOs decline markedly to 7.6% on Facebook, 4% on Twitter, and less than 1% on Google Plus.

By contrast, more than 50% of the US population uses Facebook and 34% uses Twitter.

According to Social Bakers, South Africa boasts just shy of 5 million Facebook users. Twitter users is north of 1.1 million, and Google Plus has approximately 500,000 users.

“The results came as a surprise considering that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are part of the daily fabric of life,” said Josh James, Domo founder and CEO.

“We really expected to see more social engagement from CEOs, especially since the benefits of social media are no longer just wishful thinking. CEOs who use social media are growing their businesses, attracting lifelong customers, generating exposure for their companies and closing new deals. As consumers become more social savvy, so must company leaders. We expect to see CEOs getting more and more social in the near future.”

Notable findings on Fortune 500 CEOs from the Study:

  • Of the 38 Fortune 500 CEOs on Facebook, Michael Rapino of Live Nation Entertainment has the most friends, with 1,723.
  • Among the 20 Fortune 500 CEOs who have opened Twitter accounts, 5 have never tweeted. (Note: At the end of the survey, only 19 CEOs had Twitter accounts. Oracle’s Larry Ellison joined Twitter after the survey was completed, boosting the number to 20.)
  • The average number of followers for Fortune 500 CEOs with Twitter accounts is 33,250.
  • Rupert Murdoch of News Corp, with 249,000 followers, is now the most-followed Fortune 500 CEO, surpassing HP’s Meg Whitman who was in the number one spot when the survey was taken.
  • 10 Fortune 500 CEOs have more than 500 LinkedIn connections, while 36 CEOs have 1 LinkedIn connection or none.
  • Six Fortune 500 CEOs contribute to blogs, and only one of the six CEOs, John Mackey of Whole Foods, maintains his own blog.
  • Zero Fortune 500 CEOs are on Pinterest.

In South Africa, Michael Jordaan, who serves as CEO of First National Bank, is seen as an active social media user, with a Twitter following approaching 16,500 and more than 3,570 tweets.

In the tech/ICT space, Alan Knott-Craig, CEO of World of Avatar, the company behind Mxit, boasts 4,871 followers, having tweeted 3,344 times to date. Outgoing Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys is relatively active on Twitter with 4,871 followers but having tweeted less than a thousand times.

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CEOs opt out of social media: study