In 2015, 61 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs had no social media presence. None whatsoever.
Yet, we’ve known for years that social media has the potential to impact sales in a positive way. In terms of Ecommerce sales, Shopify found that an average of 85 percent of its 529,000 socially-referred orders came from Facebook alone. Additionally, average order values coming in from social channels ranged from approximately $38 to $67.
It’s surprising to me, then, that in 2015 and 2016 more CEOs aren’t building out their social presences online. Sure, having your own professional branding strategy on Twitter isn’t quite the same as using Twitter Ads to drive sales to your products, but being present on social media certainly improves brand visibility and shows customers that you’re willing to engage with them. Both of which build brand loyalty and can positively influence buyer decisions.
If such information wasn’t enough to convince your CEO to get on social, now new research released from G&S Business Communications in conjunction with Harris Poll shows that 64 percent of American consumers think CEOs should be active on social media. And it’s not just millennials who have this opinion: 35 percent of the general public and 47 percent of Gen X-ers say they place more trust in information about a company when it’s delivered by social media.
Additionally, these same groups said business leaders who are transparent on social media are also more trustworthy, with 54 percent of the general public and 61 percent of Gen X-ers backing this sentiment.
Co-author on the study Carol Gstalder notes, “Nearly two thirds of the general public say it’s at least somewhat important for senior leaders to be active on social media today, yet the majority of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence whatsoever.”
Why is this?
Followers want to know more about your company.
One limiting factor might be time. If you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you likely aren’t looking for ways to waste time on Twitter during your afternoons. Luckily, it appears that most American’s understand this.
G&S found that only 28 percent of consumers view an active social media presence as one in which a CEO is personally managing his or her accounts. Americans seem to understand that CEOs might need to employ the help of their marketing teams or a ghostwriter to keep their accounts up to date.
Another reason CEOs might not have a social presence could be because they don’t want to share details of their personal lives with the world. Yet, this doesn’t seem to be an issue to followers, either as 39 percent of Americans follow business leaders online, and very few of them want to task said leaders with Tweeting about their personal lives.
For the most part, consumers care about themselves. That is, they want to know about the companies and products relevant to them and their future purchases. To wit, 36 percent want to see leaders address their company’s vision on social media, 35 percent want them to address company services and products, and 32 percent want to see customer service issues and experiences addressed. No personal details necessary.
Highly engaged industry elites agree.
If the push from American consumers isn’t enough to persuade you, consider the views of the study’s “Opinion Elites.”
G&S defines this sub-segment of the survey’s respondents as those who, “Are more informed, engaged, involved in current issues and exert influence on the general public.” So, likely, industry influencers with large social media followings.
Seventy-one percent of Opinion Elites think CEOs should be active on social media. They also agree that a company’s senior leaders should not share personal opinions on social but, rather, stick to keeping the public informed about the company’s business activities. The top reason given by Opinion Elites for CEOs having a social presence? Because they think it’s important to learn about a company before making a purchase.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re a senior leader at your company and you don’t have a social presence, you could be losing out on not just additional sales, but also on furthering your brand reach and your own professional trustworthiness.