To tweet or not to tweet. That is the question facing many CEOs and C-level executives. As companies start to wrap up 2010 and plan for 2011, many are asking if their social media plans should include more involvement from the top down.
In a recent study called “Socializing Your CEO,” Weber Shandwick reported that a mere 14 percent of executives in the United States hold a positive view of chief executives. The study argues that CEOs need to learn to be engage more people by using a number of tools including social media. Interestingly, only 8 percent of the world’s largest company CEOs have a Twitter account.
Sure, there a number of reasons executives at this level might not want to Twitter. If they run a public company, sharing too much information online is a legitimate concern. Moreover, many don’t have any clue what they should be saying in 140 characters or less. Fortunately, there are CEOs out there breaking the mold. They’re demonstrating that tools like Twitter can help craft a better corporate reputation and bring together their communities online.
Here are 10 corporate heads who have made Twitter part of their daily routine and share compelling content from their personal and professional lives. Follow them on Twitter to learn how CEOs can use a social networking tool to engage their customers.
- Martha Stewart. @marthastewart. Followers 2,047,641. Following 8,333. Tweets 1,954. Most recent tweet: “Tweet me your last-minute #Thanksgiving questions -- I am answering them live on today’s show. Final chance! must include #MarthaTDay.”
- Tony Hsieh. Zappos. @Zappos. Followers: 1,756,838. Following: 382,507. Tweets: 2,242. Most recent tweet: “‘Possibility’ by my new favorite band Rabbit! -- as recorded on the Delivering Happiness bus: http://bit.ly/9A3GRy.”
- Richard Branson. Virgin Group. @RichardBranson (the picture shows him shining Guy Kawasaki’s shoe while asking Guy to fly on Virgin). Followers 629,970. Following 6.422. Tweets 373. Most recent tweet: “60 questions for my 60th year -- part 2. I answer questions on the London Marathon, who i would like to meet & more. http://ow.ly/3dwl8.”
- Leo Laporte. TWiT. @LeoLaporte. Followers 245,834. Following 1,493. Tweets 4,005. Most recent tweet: “Live now: This Week In Google with @GinaTrapani, @jeffjarvis and @Gigaom. http://live.twit.tv.”
- Peter Aceto. ING Direct Canada. @CEO_INGDIRECT. Followers 3,942. Following 1,083. Tweets 3,079. Most recent tweet: “Discussing 2 strategic partnerships with team today. Partnerships can raise both to new heights or leave both shaking their heads.”
- Michael Arrington. TechCrunch. @Arrington. Followers 54,083. Following 1,251. Tweets 6,395. Most recent tweet: “Nominate Outstanding Innovators Now For The 2010 TechFellow Awards tcrn.ch/fYnwfC via @techcrunch.”
- Tim O’Reilly. O’Reilly Media. @TimOreilly. Followers 1,435,627. Following 697. Tweets 12,669. Most recent tweet: “‘Invest in lines, not dots.’ in @bryce’s post Twitter and the Accelerating Line http://bit.ly/dVmLhd.”
- Christine Perkett. PerkettPR. @missusP. Followers 21,870. Following 16,918. Tweets 17,899. Most recent tweet: “Found @FastCompany slideshow v interesting—range of gifts says a lot about CEOs featured. My fave @barneyh of @orbitz.”
- Michael Hyatt. Thomas Nelson. @MichaelHyatt. Followers 87,601. Following 83,426. Tweets 12,731. Most recent tweet: “The Beatles Sell More than 450K Albums and 2MM Individual Songs in Their First Week on iTunes: http://mhyatt.us/3ePk8.”
- Brian J Dunn, Best Buy. @BBYCEO. Followers 6,285. Following 1,039. Tweets 628. Most recent tweet: “T- 3 days until Black Friday: Ready…”
Note that seven of the 10 people use their own names. One uses a company name, and two use their title. This is something to keep in mind as you or your CEO pick a Twitter name.