Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: It’s Time for CEOs to Harness the Power of Social Media

CEOs —you can no longer hide from social media. It will be noticed. In order to keep a finger on the pulse of your company you must listen to conversations about your brand. Most of that conversation is taking place on various social media sites and to keep up, CEOs have to open up, and not just to staff and board of directors, but to their customers living and breathing through various social media channels. 

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we take a closer look at the new social responsibilities CEOs must take on if they want to stay on top of their business and drive it into the future. We will look at C-suite executives that are doing it right, those companies that were slow to adopt and as a result didn’t keep pace and suggestions for how CEOs can stay ahead in 2013.

Take It From One Who Tweets: CEOs Need Social Media (Fast Company)

So So Def Recording CEO Jermaine Dupri said, in a recent article for Fast Company, “If you don’t have time for social media, you don’t have time to be a CEO.” His advice comes from his own experience staying grounded in his market and better connected with his audiences. Dupri offers suggestions that could help CEOs stay on their game and prevent them from falling out of touch. Here’s a preview:

  • Know your market. Dupri recommends that all CEOs remain grounded and take some time each day to better understand the needs of their customers or target audiences.
  • Know your own people. Create personal accounts on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and even Google Plus to get to know your customers, employees and stakeholders better. This also gives CEOs an opportunity to engage with these groups and build a more genuine relationship.

Former Compuware President Attributes Takeover Bid to Slow-to-Start Social Media Plans (Crain’s Detroit Business)

Former Compuware Corp. president and COO Joe Nathan spoke up about how his former company’s slow adoption of social media and mobile technology left them wide open for a takeover bid by hedge fund Elliot Management. Nathan retired from Compuware in 2003 after serving as president and COO since 1992. Over the years he has watched the company shrink and as he reflects on his time there, he has come to the conclusion that many of the company’s challenges came from a lack of social and new media efforts. This is an example of a company that did not adapt to the social movement, something Nathan feels would have supported a higher bid. In a letter to the board of directors from Elliot Management portfolio manager Jesse Cohn, Cohn went on to say that while his company believes in Compuware’s quality of assets, the company has underperformed in execution, profitability and growth. 

When It Comes To Social CEOs One Group Is The Clear Winner (Forbes)

Forbes contributor Steve Olenski looks at the findings from the Domo and CEO.com report, 2012 Social CEO Showdown, and discusses the importance of CEOs staying in touch via social media channels. The report looks at social media habits among leaders of America’s largest companies (Fortune 500) and America’s fastest growing companies (Inc. 500). Here are a few statistics from the report that give a better idea as to who the winning CEOs are in this survey group:

  • 79% of Inc. 500 CEOs have a social presence on at least one network
  • 30% of Fortune 500 CEOs have a social media presence

What’s interesting about this report is that number one key takeaway across the board seems to be consistent with other reports that look at social media use at the C-suite level. CEOs who use social platforms to engage with various stakeholders offer their company more opportunities “to be more adaptive and agile.”

Infographic: The Social Profiles of Inc. 500 CEOs vs. Fortune 500 CEOs (SocialTimes)

SocialTimes’ Devon Glenn takes a closer look at the CEO.com infographic that explores social behaviors of America’s leading CEOs. Based on the results from the Domo and CEO.com report, Inc. 500 leaders are the more social compared to the Fortune 500 list. Glenn explains that the way that Inc. and Fortune magazine compile their annual lists can also affect any statistics on each company’s social media approach. Take a look at the infographic and let us know what you think.

3 Social Media Game-Changers for 2013 (Hootsuite)

As CEOs power up for 2013 and devise new strategy that will keep them in the lead or move them ahead of the status quo, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes offers social media game changers to get CEOs started.

  • Big business tackles social media (but does it right). 2012 offered a new perspective on social media and big corporations. 81 percent of Fortune 500 executives see that their use of social media can offer their brands more sales and bigger market share. It will be interesting to see with the uptick in social media use how many of these companies implement mandatory social media compliance training.
  • Higher education will really embrace Social Media 101…for student’s sake. Jobs requiring social media skills rose to 87% in 2012. As businesses see the value of social media skills and knowledge, college graduates can expect to see more social media classes offered to help them gain an advantage in the workforce.

 Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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