Charting the future of public relations
New Study Shows CEOs Remain Resistant to Social Networking
Aarti Shah
Holmes Report
COO & Senior Editor

New Study Shows CEOs Remain Resistant to Social Networking

Global CEOs more likely to engage in one-way communications, according to new study.

Aarti Shah

NEW YORK — Only 18 percent of CEOs at the world’s largest 50 companies have warmed to social networking -- an increase of only two percentage points from 2010, according to Weber Shandwick’s Socializing Your CEO 2013 report. None of the CEOs in the study maintain blogs under their own names -- a figure unchanged from two years ago. 

Lagging social media adoption among CEOs can be attributed to a range of factors, from perceived risk of social networking to skepticism about its ROI. The study shows, however, that CEOs are more comfortable boosting their presence on one-way communications channels, such as their company’s website or YouTube page. For instance, 40 percent of CEOs appear in company videos, more than double from 2010, and 50 percent of CEOs maintain a visible presence on the company website, up from 32 percent in 2010.  The study followed the social media activities of CEOs at the top 50 companies listed in Fortune’s 2012 Global 500 rankings.     

Regionally, U.S. CEOs are the most likely to be on social networks (40 percent), while European CEOs are most likely to appear on YouTube (38 percent). None of the CEOs from Asia-Pacific or Latin America had social media accounts, among those companies included in the study.  

The findings coincide with Burson-Marsteller’s Latin America Social Media Check-up 2013 that examined the social media activity of 225 large companies across nine Latin American countries. The report found that companies in the region are increasingly embracing two-way communications with 65 percent of those included now active on at least one social media platform, up 16 percentage points from 2010. Predictably, Facebook and Twitter dominated as the preferred social media platform.  

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