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CEO.comDOMO-Fortune500CEOs-on-Social-Aug2013A recent survey of senior executives found most believing that a CEO’s presence on a social media site can boost the company’s credibility. A new study [download page] from CEO.com and DOMO suggests that these senior executives might be disappointed, at least if they work at Fortune 500 companies. The researchers reveal that only 32% of the CEOs have a presence on at least one of the major social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+). That’s not much of a change from last year’s 30%. Both studies were conducted as snapshots in May, so it’s possible that the figures have moved since then. It’s also worth noting that there were 502 CEOs tracked this year (2 companies have co-CEOs), and 498 last year. Percentages for both years are based off these numbers.

While there hasn’t been much of an increase in social networking adoption among the big-wigs, some platforms are proving more appealing than others. LinkedIn is most popular among Fortune 500 CEOs, with 140 (27.9%) maintaining an account, compared to 129 (25.9%) last year.

The next-most popular – if it can be called that – platform among Fortune 500 CEOs is Facebook. However only 35 (7%) were on Facebook as of May 2013, down from 38 (7.6%) last year.

Facebook narrowly edges Twitter in adoption, with the latter coming on a bit stronger. This year, 28 CEOs are on Twitter (5.6%), up from 18 last year (3.6%). While 10 more are on this year, half of those are CEOs who were already on Twitter before joining the Fortune 500 list this year.

Finally, CEOs have not warmed to Google+. Just 5 maintain an account this year (1%); last year there were 4 (0.8%).

While the report provides some theories on why Fortune 500 CEOs aren’t more social, a recent study from Weber Shandwick suggested that (according to senior executives), CEOs stay away from social media because it’s too risky, they don’t see a return, and because they believe it’s atypical for their industry or there’s no demand for them to have a presence.

About the Data: To find out how many CEOs were actually using social media, and what kind of influence they had, CEO.com turned to the FORTUNE 500® list. From May 6 to May 20, 2013, the researchers searched for every CEO on each of the four major social networks. This year CEO.com took extra care to crack down on fake accounts. Generally, the verification ””though unavoidably subjective in nature ”” included the following:

  • Profile descriptions must be accurate
  • Content of posts must be relevant and believable
  • Number and quality of followers taken into consideration
  • Account maintained by or on behalf of the actual CEO

A more detailed explanation of the researchers’ methodology can be found in the report.

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