eMarketer: CEOs Who Tweet Held in High Regard

Top execs slower than employees, customers to view social media as communications channel

MARCH 27, 2012 – There may be new reasons for CEOs and CMOs to join the Twittersphere. According to a study by social media branding firm BRANDfog consumers and employees regard company leaders who engage on social media platforms positively.

BRANDfog survey results indicate that consumers believe C-suite engagement in social media can benefit how they view a brand and its executive leadership. The majority of survey respondents, 78%, said CEO participation in social media leads to better communication, while 71% said it leads to improved brand image and 64% said it provides more transparency.

In terms of importance, 86% of respondents rated CEO social media engagement as somewhat important, very important or mission-critical. CEO activity on social networks also appears to influence employees� faith in their company. The study findings indicate that 82% of employee respondents trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media.

Likelihood of Trusting a Company Whose CEO Communicates by Social Media Channels According to Employees* Worldwide, Oct 2011 (% of total)

A company�s social media presence also trickles down and influences purchase decisions. The majority of BRANDfog survey respondents (77%) are more likely or much more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media to clearly define company values and leadership principles. And 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image.

Selling social to the C-suite remains a challenge for many companies, though. According to an Accenture study of social media among B2B marketers, 31% of respondents said they need increased CEO conviction in order to make social media efforts more effective.

Changes that Need to Be Made for Their Social Media Efforts to Be More Effective According to B2B Marketing Executives in North America, May 2011 (% of respondents)

Another examination of marketer priorities, by The CMO Council, reveals that social media is a priority for engagement and buzz-building among 60% of senior marketers worldwide.

Leading Marketing Priorities for Their Agencies According to Senior Marketers Worldwide, H2 2011 (% of respondents)

CMO Council survey respondents also said speed of adoption of new web technologies by chief marketers and top-level executives was a continuing challenge.

Financial services firm ING Direct Canada is known for its tweeting CEO, Peter Aceto. Aceto told eMarketer in a February 2012 interview that using social media helps him gauge how employees and consumers view the company and its products. “We saw it as a competitive advantage for us,” Aceto said. “There was no science. There was no ROI. We just needed to get going, start to build a community and learn about how we can use it.”

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