Top execs slower than employees, customers to view social media as communications channel
There may be new reasons for CEOs and CMOs to join the Twittersphere. According to a study by social media branding firm BRANDfog consumers and employees regard company leaders who engage on social media platforms positively.
BRANDfog survey results indicate that consumers believe C-suite engagement in social media can benefit how they view a brand and its executive leadership. The majority of survey respondents, 78%, said CEO participation in social media leads to better communication, while 71% said it leads to improved brand image and 64% said it provides more transparency.
In terms of importance, 86% of respondents rated CEO social media engagement as somewhat important, very important or mission-critical. CEO activity on social networks also appears to influence employees’ faith in their company. The study findings indicate that 82% of employee respondents trust a company more when the CEO and leadership team communicate via social media.
A company’s social media presence also trickles down and influences purchase decisions. The majority of BRANDfog survey respondents (77%) are more likely or much more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media to clearly define company values and leadership principles. And 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image.
Selling social to the C-suite remains a challenge for many companies, though. According to an Accenture study of social media among B2B marketers, 31% of respondents said they need increased CEO conviction in order to make social media efforts more effective.
Another examination of marketer priorities, by The CMO Council, reveals that social media is a priority for engagement and buzz-building among 60% of senior marketers worldwide.
CMO Council survey respondents also said speed of adoption of new web technologies by chief marketers and top-level executives was a continuing challenge.
Financial services firm ING Direct Canada is known for its tweeting CEO, Peter Aceto. Aceto told eMarketer in a February 2012 interview that using social media helps him gauge how employees and consumers view the company and its products. “We saw it as a competitive advantage for us,” Aceto said. “There was no science. There was no ROI. We just needed to get going, start to build a community and learn about how we can use it.”