• 80.6% of respondents believe that social media is an important communications channel for CEOs to engage with customers and investors
• 68.7% of respondents believe that C-suite social media engagement enhances the perception that a brand is honest and trustworthy
• 83.9% believe that CEO social media engagement is an effective tool to increase brand loyalty.
The emphasis in this passage is mine! There are a whole host of reasons why CEOs and other C-level executives are reluctant to engage in social media, but increasingly the excuses just don’t hold water. Listen to BRANDfog CEO Ann Charles:
“We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the culture of modern leadership, brought upon by social media but sustained by the strategic inventiveness of smart CEOs. . .The role of the CEO has been transformed by social media and CEOs have no choice but to become more visible, social, and accessible than ever before.”
The study also speaks to the importance of social media in times of corporate crisis and the belief that CEO involvement can be helpful. That goes back to my often-repeated question: How can a CEO know how to use social media under pressure unless (s)he has experience and is comfortable with the social channels? The answer is simple; experience and comfort level is crucial.
That said, what channels are the CEOs in these companies most likely to use? The answer is no surprise—Twitter! Are they linking to more detailed corporate information? I hope so! Many also use LinkedIn; why don’t all of them have a professional presence there? Facebook is fine and corporate blogs round out the important channels. The blogs, along with the website, are where the detailed information lives; that’s where the links should go. (See the complete infographic of study data here.)
It’s not a new message, but this study makes it clear that it’s still a hard one to get across. My personal opinion is clear. Why should customers trust a brand whose C-level executives are afraid to engage openly and transparently with them?
Increasingly the answer is: they will not trust those brands!