One of the best ways to stoke up interest in social media amongst employees is to get the leadership team to lead by example. If you have a leader that embraces social and actively engages on say Twitter or LinkedIn, this sends a powerful message to the rest of the organisation. Not only is it ok to use social media professionally, but the boss is doing it and showing the way.

Granted, not every CEO will have the inspirational powers of Richard Branson, let alone three million followers on LinkedIn, but every leader can learn lessons from the most social company executives out there.

richard branson

Our friends at Weber Shandwick recently released the second Socializing Your CEO study, an audit of the online engagement activities of CEOs from the world’s largest companies. In its report, “The Social CEO: Executives Tell All,” 76 percent of executives surveyed believe their CEO should be actively using social media.

The study finds that the online sociability of these top CEOs increased dramatically over the past two years, with 66 percent of CEOs engaging online in 2012 versus 36 percent in 2010. This growth in online visibility comes from posts on the company website as well as corporate videos on the company website and YouTube.

Despite the large gains in CEO sociability, the use of social networks has barely budged over the past two years. When CEOs resist, it’s generally due to social media use being atypical for their region or industry. Also, CEOs often fail to see the return on investment of participating in social media, according to the study.

Interesting takeaways:

  • 73% of executives with social CEOs search to see what their CEO is posting
  • 69% of executives with social CEOs would like to see even more activity from their leaders
  • The not-so-social CEOs still do updates, either to the company website (62%) or to a company intranet (50%)
  • The greatest benefits to a CEO being social include: sharing information, enhancing company reputation, demonstrating innovation

RELATED: Social Media from the Top: Influential CEO Leadership

The infographic below details more findings from “The Social CEO” study:

Social CEOs

Jörgen Sundberg

The original Undercover Recruiter, after 7 years in tech recruiting Jorgen now runs Link Humans, a social media agency in London.