66% of CEOs of the world’s top 50 companies engaged online in 2012: but only 18% used social media

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

January 16, 2013 | 2 min read

The number of CEOs engaging with the public online has increased by 30 per cent in two years, research by Weber Shandwick has found, with two thirds (66 per cent) of CEOs of the world’s top 50 companies engaging online in 2012.

The research found that 50 per cent are now engaging through the company website, while only 18 per cent are using social media.

Weber Shandwick found the CEOs who are visible on their company websites most often appear on their company homepages and About Us pages and have a greater presence than just the executive’s name; while 40 per cent appear in videos on company websites and on corporate YouTube channels.

It was discovered that only 10 per cent of CEOs now have a Facebook page; six per cent have a LinkedIn page, while only two per cent have a Twitter account.

James Warren, chief creative officer of Weber Shandwick’s Digital practice, said: “While the public use of social networks by global CEOs does not appear to have increased markedly, the overall increase in CEO sociability indicates the strong likelihood that CEOs are monitoring these networks for social intelligence and using this knowledge, data and insight to inform their activities elsewhere. This is nowhere more apparent than in Europe, where we saw the percentage of CEOs engaging in social media increase from 12 per cent in 2010 to 67 per cent today.”

Weber Shandwick also noted that approximately one-third of top CEOs had their names attached to fake social media accounts.

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