Seven in Ten Fortune 500 CEOs Have No Social Media Presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+

laptop useSeveral weeks ago, I shared the encouraging results of a study that indicated corporate CEOs were finally starting to “get” social media.

But now, new research sponsored by Domo and CEO.com reminds us that “getting it” and “doing it” aren’t the same thing . . . at all.

In fact, this latest study found that social media engagement by the CEOs of America’s 500 largest revenue generating corporations lags well behind that of the general public –and well behind leaders of non-Fortune 500 organizations, too.

With the exception of LinkedIn, where they comprise a greater percentage than the rest of the country (26 versus 20 percent), Fortune 500 CEOs have an abysmal social media presence.  Just take a look at these numbers:

  • A mere 7.8 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs use Facebook.  Four percent have Twitter accounts. And less than 1 percent appear on Google+.
  • Not one CEO has activated a Pinterest account.
  • All told, that means seven in 10 have no social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Google+.
  • 36 of the CEOs who opened LinkedIn accounts have one or zero connections.
  • Only six contribute to blogs, and just one of them (John Mackey of Whole Foods) maintains his own.
  • Five of the 20 CEOs who have Twitter accounts have never posted a single Tweet.

And it’s not as though these business leaders don’t have an audience on social networks. The average number of followers for the 20 CEOs who have Twitter accounts is more than 33,000.

As Josh James, Domo founder and CEO, points out, the results are surprising, considering that social media is now such a large part of the “daily fabric of life” –and because the business value of online social networks have been well-documented.

“We really expected to see more social engagement from CEOs, especially since the benefits of social media are no longer just wishful thinking,” he explained.”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.”

I agree. As I see it, continuing to ignore social media equates with continuing to distance yourself from customers (and valuable business contacts, too). Fortune 500 CEOs are going to have to reverse this trend if they want to maintain competitive in today’s socially-connected digital marketplace.

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