Business leaders need to leverage Twitter

Angela Ahrendts

Smart CEOs use social media to help build corporate reputations

Angela Ahrendts*, pictured above,  first came to fame as one of the first CEOs to really shake up a company using every social media channel available to her. At Burberry, she tripled revenue and launched a whole range of novel digital initiatives. How many other CEOs are following her lead?

According to MIT Sloan “How CEOs can Leverage Twitter” (Winter, 2016), only 42 Fortune 500 CEOs have Twitter accounts. And of those, only about 70% are truly active and tweeting in a meaningful way. So what does ‘meaningful’ mean in the Twittersphere?

Using Twitter, CEOs can significantly increase their visibility and influence. More importantly, they can shape the conversation about their corporations. With some 300 million active users, Twitter lends itself to a more personal communication than Facebook and is ideally suited to creating dialogue with current and potential customers. What’s not to love? The fear factor plays on many leaders’ minds. Twitter is immediate and there is a risk to sharing information in real time, where mistakes and an ill-thought out quip can create havoc.

According to the researchers Claudia Kubowisz Malhotra and Arvind Malhotra, based on the content tweeted most often, they classified CEOs into four groups.

Four Types of CEO Tweets

Generalists – CEOs who tweet about a wide range of content but who fail to communication the really interesting stuff, like new company initiatives.

Expressionists tweet about their opinions on life and politics and give an insight into their daily lives for their followers’ delectation.

Information Mavens act as ‘trusted curators’, sharing information and news. However, they may balk at breaking real news.

Business Mavens use twitter to share business-related content. They often share new product announcements and information about existing products, customer references and management initiatives.

And guess which group was the most successful (more liked and retweeted), according to the research?  Yes, Business Mavens! After all, CEOs views on their own company are by far the most interesting topic for followers.

So what’s stopping you, CEO?

*Angela Ahrendts was deemed the 16th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in its List of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World in 2015.