CEOs Afraid Of Going Social Are Doing Shareholders A Massive Disservice:

This is a guest post written by Josh James, who founded Omniture (now a part of Adobe). He currently runs Domo, a data startup.

Big company CEOs are virtually invisible on social media sites. They’re not onFacebook, not on Twitter, not on GooglePlus, not on Pinterest—they’re barely even on LinkedIn.

These findings are just crazy to me on so many levels. More than half the U.S. population has eagerly embraced sites like Facebook and more than a third are using Twitter, yet only 7.6% of Fortune 500 CEOs have bothered to jump on Facebook, and just 4% have opened Twitter accounts. All in, 70% of big company CEOs have no presence on social networks. I know this thanks to a survey my company, calledDomo, just released.

When we did the research for the Fortune 500 Social CEO Index, it was shocking to me that only nine CEOs in a 100-day period had tweeted. And that Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman was active only when she was running for office – but what about her 100,000 employees and millions upon millions of customers?

The fact that there were only two CEOs with more than 500 friends is almost laughable.  Top it all off with the finding that Rupert Murdoch is one of the most social – he’s almost the oldest guy out there.  C’mon folks!

Why is this shocking?

Social media isn’t a passing fad. The primary reason you have to be social is because that is where your customer lives. Even if you are not leveraging it to close business and interact with your customers, you have to spend enough time online to at least understand the shift in the world. This lack of engagement would be similar to 50% of the world using email with big CEOs holding out; or 50% of your customers shopping online but no CEOs trying it.

There’s no denying that sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are now part of the daily fabric of life. CEOs have a responsibility to their shareholders to be visible. CEOs who shun social media risk losing touch with some of their most lucrative customers, prospects and influencers.  I’m just saying it is time to jump on.

Granted, I’m not the CEO of a massive company but I started and ran a software business called Omniture that was close to a half billion dollars in revenue, sold it to Adobe for $1.8 billion, and then I served on the executive team for Adobe, which is an impressively large company.

Now I’m the founder and CEO of Domo. We are aiming to give executives to view and manage all aspects of their businesses. We don’t have the size and scale of a large multinational—at least not yet.  But we’ve seen benefits since I’ve started using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  We’ve attracted recruits, drummed up enthusiasm for our brand and garnered some immediate feedback from prospects on our product. Our organization has flattened and we are moving more quickly.

One day I tweeted about a product feature that I liked. Two weeks later in a meeting with engineering, I was shown our product with that particular feature built in. We never had a meeting to discuss it. I never sent a memo. The engineer took the cue and figured out how to make the product better.  That was pretty amazing.

Article by:

Victoria Barret |7/12/2012 |


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