02 Sep How Many Fortune 500 CEOs are on Social Media in 2022?
The number of CEOs who have a social media account has increased significantly over the past two years. Having an online presence has become more critical than ever, particularly because of the record-high usage of mobile apps since the pandemic. How have America’s most influential executives evolved their online presence in that time? Our team at Influential Executive used the CEOs of companies on the 2022 Fortune 500 list as a sample and researched each and every one of them to find their public profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Our research found that as of August 2022, 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs have a profile on at least one social media platform.
In 2020 when we last conducted our study, only 62% of CEOs were found on social media — that’s a 13% increase in just two years. More CEOs and business leaders are seeing the benefits of using social media as a way to drive company objectives and position themselves as thought leaders.
The most surprising results from our study came from how each platform is being used by CEOs and the way their content creation has changed since 2020. Keep reading for more statistics and facts from our study!
LinkedIn is Still the #1 Platform for CEOs
- LinkedIn continues to be the top platform for CEOs to build their online presence. Out of the 352 Fortune 500 CEOs on social media, 97% of them are on LinkedIn.
- As a social media platform focused on professional networks rather than personal ones, it makes sense that more leaders of the professional world would choose LinkedIn rather than a more personal platform like Instagram.
- LinkedIn posts come in a variety of different formats, including text-only posts, photos, and videos. But what makes LinkedIn different from other platforms are its long-form content options, such as LinkedIn Newsletters and Articles, which are ideal for sharing extensive knowledge with a network.
- Our past research also found that executives’ personal pages gain more engagement on LinkedIn compared to their brand’s pages.
- The pandemic and “The Great Resignation” caused many social media users to search for new job opportunities online. Social media can be an excellent way to attract top talent — and what better way to attract potential hires than to use a company’s CEO to deliver HR-related messages on LinkedIn?
The Number of CEOs on Instagram Has Seen Significant Growth
- Back in 2020, only 6% of Fortune 500 CEOs on social media had a public Instagram account. This year, that has increased to 14%. Although still not nearly as popular as LinkedIn, that means Instagram usage among CEOs increased by 133% in just two years.
- Instagram is a photo and video-based platform. The content tends to be more personal and emphasizes everyday life, interests, and hobbies. From our experience in working with CEOs, many don’t prioritize this platform because they know users don’t tend to use Instagram for business-related content. However, leaders with an Instagram account tend to appear more approachable and authentic, which is too often underestimated when it comes to online influence.
- It can also be more time-consuming for busy CEOs to produce content on Instagram, as creating authentic photo and video posts need a more hands-on approach than text-only posts.
- However, it seems as though executives are slowly trending towards becoming more open to sharing personal content, as users tend to engage more with it.
- Recently, Instagram has shifted its goals by focusing more on video content. This bodes well for CEOs who frequently share Reels, such as McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinksi.
Twitter is Growing at a Steady Pace
- 31% of Fortune 500 CEOs on social media have a Twitter account, a 15% increase from 2020.
- It is not surprising that Twitter is the second most popular platform for CEOs, as the app focuses on short-form, text-only content. CEOs can share their thoughts and opinions quickly amidst their busy schedules, and it is far easier for them to bring in other people to help with creating content for Twitter under the CEO’s name.
- Although Twitter’s growth rate was lower than Instagram’s, the platform’s shorter content and the convenience of repurposing LinkedIn content mean that we don’t predict that executives will be giving up on Twitter anytime soon.
- We expect Twitter to continue to grow in popularity, especially amongst CEOs who are too busy to prioritize creating their own content.
CEOs on Social Media in 2022: Takeaways and Insights
The pandemic normalized remote work and a heavier reliance on digital communication. It’s more important than ever for C-suite executives and business leaders to be utilizing social media platforms strategically. For many consumers, social media may be their first impression of a company or individual. Not having a digital presence is a lost opportunity to nurture an online audience — and in some cases, it can even create a negative impression because users can’t do the research they have grown accustomed to.
We also discovered in our study that the CEOs who didn’t have a social media account were occasionally impersonated or mistaken to be other users. It’s easy to assume that an account with the same name is one of the CEOs on the list, especially if they haven’t already established an online presence with a profile photo and bio. This can be an issue as users may assume that the posts are from a Fortune 500 CEO, when in reality, it’s someone completely different.
We suggest executives and CEOs have accounts set up on key social media platforms and that their teams keep an eye out for impersonators.
Being on social media is no longer an option, but rather a necessity. It is one of the most effective ways to reach new and existing audiences, develop a personal brand, and drive business goals.
Here is something else to keep in mind: a study by data.ai found that during the pandemic, a majority of countries averaged around four hours of mobile app usage per day. This increase hasn’t slowed down since the post-pandemic reopening. At the beginning of 2022, many countries saw a 40% increase in mobile app usage since 2020, with the average now being above five hours a day.
Social media has come a long way since being a platform just for friends and family to connect. It’s now used by business professionals, including C-suite leaders, as a way to promote their company, establish their thought leadership, and support their business’ marketing efforts. With so many eyes on social media and the limitless business potential these platforms offer, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a record number of Fortune 500 CEOs on social media.
For executives who are looking to start their social media presence or marketers who need support in getting their company’s leaders online, our team can help! Click the button below to book a consultation with our experts and let’s discuss how to strategically position your executives online.
In the meantime, here are some helpful resources if you are looking to be an influential executive on social media:
- Four Ways to Grow on Social Media as an Executive
- How Executives can Contribute to their Company’s Social Proof
- Why it’s Important to have Executives on Social Media
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