The Future of Social: CEO’s

How many CEO’s can you list that use social media?  Following up on my latest post, I’ve been scouring the internet to find information and research on how often and how efficiently CEO’s are using social media, and what it means for the future of social media for CEO’s.

International Business Machines (IBM) recently released their 2012 Global CEO study, which most certainly included a section on social media.  Unsurprisingly, the study showed that within the next five years, social media will become the #2 way to engage and interact with customers.  Welcome to the changing business model, and the wide world of potential that comes along with it!

“Leading through Connections”

This shift in the business communication model comes from the changing way business leaders view others, and social is helping this shift: rather than seeing everyone as a competitor, via social, we can see everyone as a partner and contributor.

Specifically, the IBM study highlights what CEO’s think of the future of social media.  Today, only 16% of CEO’s admit to using social media as a top way to communicate with their customers.  Additionally, reports that almost 32% of CEO’s have at least one profile on some social network.  According to research released in December by New York City based Public Relations  firm Weber Shandwick, CEO engagement saw a global increase from 36% in 2010 to 66% in 2012. Further, employees at companies with socially minded CEOs say that their leader’s participation makes them feel inspired (52%) and technologically advanced (46%).

future of social

Image Courtesy of IBM Annual 2012 CEO Survey

Changing Communication Methods in the Future of Social for CEO’s

The top communication method remains face-to-face interactions via a traditional sales team and institutional representatives.  However, the future of social media as a top communication tool is expected to increase almost three fold in the next 5 years, growing approximately 256% from today’s usage numbers.  The CEO of a computer services company in the US has said, “Social networking has and will continue to significantly change how we do business.  The way we collaborate with customers will be transformed.”

But it is not only interactions with customers that will change via social media, but also how employers will interact with their own employees.  According to an Argentinian CEO, “To connect with the new generation of employees, we will need to change communications methods.  We are the email generation; they are the social network generation.”

The future of social media involves the fact that businesses are also turning more and more to social platforms to source their next major talent.  Rather than using traditional media such as a newspaper, the future of social involves employers and employees are using LinkedIn to find open positions and applicants.  This is not only a business shift, but a larger cultural shift, and it is being championed by the social platforms, which promote information and business exchange.

Being relevant and staying ahead of the curve.

future of socialAs all great business leaders know, being proactive is the key to keeping your business relevant and ahead of the curve.  So, I would encourage you to take a closer look at the online tools available to you, and to take advantage of them.  Given the speed at which technology changes, it is important to realize the potential you have right now, and to act upon it.  Again from social media user extraordinaire, Richard Branson, “Where possible, everyone within a company should be engaged in what is happening elsewhere within their business, and in the wider world.”  Being socially interconnected can certainly help you get on the right track.

The Top Performers

Recently, an article was published by Steve Tappin (Host of BBC’s “CEO Guru”) on LinkedIn, ranking the world’s CEO’s who are the most active on social media.  Unsurprisingly, Richard Branson (Virgin) ranked as the king of social, with Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn),  Anand Mahindra (Mahrinda & Mahrinda),  Eric Schmidt (Google) and Marissa Mayer (Yahoo) rounding out the top five.

For more on the IBM CEO study, and to download the full results of the survey, click here.