How many Fortune 100 CEOs use Facebook or Twitter?

Back in 2009 the numbers were very small.  Only two used Twitter or Facebook.  Two years later and things have improved dramatically, well at least in percentage terms.  Based on our latest research, just four Fortune 100 CEOs have Twitter feeds and while the total number of Facebook users approaches 700 million, just nine Fortune 100 CEOs make some use of Facebook accounts.  The four using Twitter are:

Warren Buffett – Berhsire Hathaway – @WEBuffett

Michael Dell – Dell Computer – @michaeldell

Brian Dunn – Best Buy – @BBYCEO

Craig Herkert – Supervalu – @herkc

When it companies to the companies themselves it is a very different story. All but 19 of the Fortune 100 companies have Twitter feeds and almost all the CMOs do.  What is interesting is that Apple has no Twitter feed, nor does its CEO while CMO was recently lauded for his use of Twitter.  Jobs also has no presence on Facebook.  The absence of top CEOs on Twitter may seem surprising to some.  These CEOs would likely all attract large followings and could use their accounts to add to the company’s personality through their tweets or Facebook updates.  The challenge seems to be one of time and priorities for many.  What several rightly want to avoid is have a ghosted twitter account.  If they are going to tweet they want to be the ones doing it.  Ghost tweets (tweets written by someone in their team on their behalf) lack authenticity and may in some cases give the impression they have too much time on their hands – not something investors would like to think.

So while I think the number of CEOs who tweet is bound to rise, especially as younger CEOs take over from today’s generation, I suspect it will be a long time before even half the top CEOs are tweeting.  Twitter, Groupon, Zynga and several other companies will likely have gone public by the time we get to anything approaching a high percentage.  Until then, you can continue to follow the fake Steve Jobs tweets like the one shown above.  Who knows, their tweets may prove more interesting, even if they’re not very accurate.

It would be easy to view the low CEO numbers as a sign that all is not well in social marketing.  Quite the contrary.  Indeed it’s great to see the number of businesses that have embraced Facebook and Twitter at other levels.  These social networks are now used to engage with a host of different stakeholders from customer, though investors to analysts.  Indeed the level to which brands are now engaging online communities is staggering and goes a long way to explain why traditional forms of media are fighting for survival.  So while Fortune 100 CEOs may be taking things very slowly, the businesses they oversee are most definitely not.

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6 Comments on “How many Fortune 100 CEOs use Facebook or Twitter?”

  1. It seems amazing to me that the four CEOs you mention are active on their Twitter accounts are actually doing so themselves. As a CEO – not of a fortune 100 company, but rather a PR agency, I find it terribly hard to find the time to be consistent and without consistency, it does not work I have all the admiration in the world for them!

    Besides time, I believe that there is another issue as to why so few use Twitter and Facebook. Caution about what is tweeted or posted is definitely a barrier to being connected. I am sure that CEOs have to think and re-think as to their next tweet or post and that inhibits active participation.

    Noemi Pollack
    CEO, The Pollack PR Marketing Group

  2. [...] ago, UberCEO reported that very few CEOs personally used Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or blogs. An informal study this year shows slight improvement among the top [...]

  3. [...] on social media from the C-suite spreads across other social platforms. Tim Dyson notes in his blog post from last year that just four Fortune 100 CEOs have Twitter feeds and while the total number of [...]

  4. [...] stats reveal that most CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are not personally using social media.  Whether [...]

  5. […] 100 CEOs, though, are still scarce. Just four Fortune 100 CEOs even were on Twitter in June 2011. But CEOs who are on Twitter are likely to attract a large following quickly, even if […]


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