SA telecoms CEOs on Twitter

Studies show that most CEOs globally keep a low social media profile, and South African telecom executives are no different.

Numerous studies have been conducted looking into big companies and their presence on social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Research conducted by Domo and found that 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence, while another study by communications firm, Burson-Marsteller (BM) showed that 87% of the top 100 Global companies are engaging over social media in some form.

The evolution of social media channels, as shown by the BM survey, was a significant shift from companies using social networks to broadcast marketing to consumers, to a more interactive level where brands, companies and executives engage with their customers.

Looking specifically at the telecoms sector, South Africa’s biggest operators have a strong brand presence on social networks – with Vodacom, Cell C, MTN and 8ta engaging with customers over Twitter and Facebook.

The CEOs who run the companies, however, mostly shy away from the social networking scene, hitting it with minimal impact.

BusinessTech looked at telco CEOs on Twitter to see how they fared with their own, individual, social engagment. While telco chief executives certainly have a presence on Twitter, the level of interaction and regulairty with which they do so, is lacking.

Executive Twitter handle Tweets Followers First Tweet Latest Tweet
Pieter Uys @uyspj 913 6,829 1 April 2010 25 July 2012
Karel Pienaar @KPAyoba 19 453 19 July 2011 17 August 2011
Shameel Joosub @shameeljoosub 11 270 21 October 2010 26 March 2011
Amith Maharaj @Amith081 39 205 18 October 2010 12 July 2012
Alan Knott-Craig @CEOCellC 0 165

Amith Maharaj – 8ta Managing Executive

Telkom Mobile’s Amith Maharaj has had a hap-hazard tweeting style since joining in October 2010; the executive has accrued 39 tweets over the years, using his account mostly to respond to other Twitter users and promote 8ta’s products.

Alan Knott Craig – Cell C CEO

A Twitter account exists for Cell C’s CEO, Alan Knott-Craig – but there hasn’t been a single tweet from the account, making it difficult to verify if, in fact, the CEO is part of the Twitter community. The lack of engagement hasn’t stopped 165 eager followers from waiting for word from the account.

Karel Pienaar – MTN SA MD

MTN’s Karel Pienaar joined Twitter in July 2011, a love-affair which lasted a month. On 16 August 2011, Pienaar tweeted “Thanks for warm welcomes all, difficult to find the time, but will [tweet more].”

The executive has not tweeted since 17 August 2011.

Pieter Uys – Vodacom CEO

Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys tops the social media table for telco executives, having caught onto the social media wave ahead of the other CEOs, starting on April Fool’s day in 2010, and having carried on tweeting consistantly since.

Uys’ Twitter timeline is mostly business-orientated, with the chief promoting Vodacom’s specials and announcements – while aslo responding directly to customers who query his account.

Shameel Joosub – Vodacom CEO

Vodacom’s next CEO, Shameel Joosub, will be heading the company as of 1 September 2012, and already has a presence on Twitter. The executive joined the social network in 2010, announcing his move to Europe as CEO of Vodafone Spain. Joosub has not tweeted since, but may have big social media boots to fill when he takes the reins as Vodacom’s new top executive.

Pinky Moholi – Telkom CEO

Telkom’s chief executive, Pinky Moholi, has no presence on Twitter whatsoever. It would be prudent to note that Telkom, itself, has no presence on Twitter – except for the parody accounts which enjoy over a thousand followers.

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SA telecoms CEOs on Twitter