Do CEOs Use Social Media?

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Some pretty high-profile CEOs have jumped on the social media train, but most are only occasional users of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other tools. The pace of adoption is picking up, however, and those CEOs that do have social media accounts are using them more.

According to new research from Domo and CEO.com, there are 42 Fortune 500 CEOs who have accounts with Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR), and 69% of those have used their accounts within the past 100 days. That’s not quite the same pace as some non-CEO users who might fire off a tweet every 100 seconds, but it is a beginning.

The research shows that 68% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence at all, and among those who do, two-thirds engage on just one platform. Of the CEOs who use social media, 74% first signed on with LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD). In addition to Twitter and LinkedIn, the study checked for CEO use of the social media platforms of Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Google+, and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

Year over year, Twitter added 46% more CEO users and Facebook added 23%, while LinkedIn lost 8%. Google+ grew by 60% from a very small base. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is the only Fortune 500 CEO with accounts on all five platforms measured in the survey.

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The 42 CEOs with Twitter accounts have a combined follower total of almost 3.7 million, of which about 11.5% are fake accounts. Celebrities’ accounts have an average of more than 30% fake followers. Exactly half of the CEOs with Twitter accounts have fewer than 100 total tweets, and five have never tweeted at all. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) CEO Warren Buffett claims nearly 845,000 Twitter followers, the most of any CEO and nearly 10 times the average.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has the most Facebook fan page followers with 29 million.

At LinkedIn, four CEOs have more than 100,000 followers: Hewlett-Packard Co.’s (NYSE: HPQ) Meg Whitman, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), General Electric Co.’s (NYSE: GE) Jeffrey Immelt and Marriott International Inc.’s (NASDAQ: MAR) Arne Sorenson. Of the CEOs with ties to a single network, 73% have chosen LinkedIn.

Only eight CEOs use Google+, and Google CEO Larry Page (who else) has about 8.4 million followers to lead the pack.

Instagram has more CEO users than Google+, and the researchers note that only Michael Rapino of Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: LYV) has begun to leverage Instagram to promote his company.

Domo and CEO.com spell out the bottom line of the research this way:

CEOs who are not using social media are doing their companies a massive disservice.

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