"How many Fortune 500 CEOs are on social media?"

Most Fortune 500 CEOs are on social media in 2020

Social media usage among CEOs is increasing steadily every year, and this year marks an all-time high. Back in 2015, CEO.com found that only 39% of Fortune 500 CEOs were on any social media platform. Our team at Influential Executive took it upon ourselves to update that statistic, particularly this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, when an online presence is more critical than ever before. We manually combed through this year’s Fortune 500 list, going through 500 executives one by one to find their public profiles on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. We found that as of August 2020, 62% of CEOs are now present on at least one social media platform.

This is a 15% increase since last year, when our team found that 54% of Fortune 500 CEOs were present on social media. Although many CEOs have been reluctant to adopt social media due to time constraints and concerns about risk management, more and more executives and leaders are recognizing the unrivaled benefits of utilizing social media to drive their business objectives. These studies have marked a continuous and significant year-over-year social media usage growth among top CEOs that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

Keep reading for other interesting findings from this year’s research.

Out of the CEOs with a social media presence, an overwhelming majority of 94% were on LinkedIn, making it the #1 platform for CEOs.

  • CEOs are certainly prioritizing LinkedIn by far. This is likely due to two primary factors: low barrier to entry, and LinkedIn-specific benefits for professionals and executives.
  • LinkedIn is one of the easiest social media presences to maintain, as content can be text-only and the average posting cadence is not high. LinkedIn also offers a number of platform-specific benefits, such as the ability to reach a targeted professional audience, and the easy accessibility of trending industry-specific content.
  • Our previous research has also revealed that leaders’ personal pages garner more engagement on LinkedIn compared to their brand page.

Twitter is the #2 platform, though only 26.5% of CEOs with social media were present on it.

  • Although CEOs have prioritized LinkedIn, driving up the number of CEOs present on social media in the past several years, far fewer have yet to adopt a second platform. 
  • We expect Twitter to be the next big step for CEOs, where they will be sharing more personal and opinionated stances and establish themselves as a thought leader outside of the professional sphere.
  • Only 4% of CEOs on social media have a Twitter presence without having a LinkedIn presence. Although Twitter is the likely next step for CEOs on social media, LinkedIn appears to be a required first step to ease them into it first.

Instagram and YouTube are still unpopular among CEOs.

  • Out of all the Fortune 500 CEOs, only 17 (3.4% of the list) have a public Instagram profile and only 1 is on YouTube. These platforms encourage more visual content, which tends to be more personal and authentic, and may not completely align with their business objectives. 
  • Videos typically take longer to produce, which CEOs may not have the time to create.
  • Out of the few CEOs on Instagram, all but one of them run businesses that have a business-to-consumer model, such as Walmart and Google. Indeed, leaders of B2B companies may have a more difficult time reaching their target audience on Instagram.

During COVID-19, social media usage has surged, and we know it has become more critical than ever for leaders to maintain a digital presence for the sake of their business. In fact, multiple reports are emerging stating that CEOs have seen a boost in engagement on LinkedIn since the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing number of CEOs on social media has grown significantly in recent years and is showing no signs of slowing down by next year. CEOs and leaders who are not thinking about social media will be quickly left behind by those who are using online platforms strategically.

For executives who are looking to start their social media presence or want to make their existing online presence more strategic from a brand standpoint, our team can help. Click the button below to book a consultation with our experts and let us show you how executives can be a powerful marketing tool for your company.