News Update :

Are Top Managers the (Top) Laggards of Social Media?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A white paper published by the Dutch education and strategy consulting firm MarketingMonday reveals that CEOs and CFOs of the biggest Dutch companies (50 corporations from the AEX and AMX  and American companies (first 100 in the Fortune500 list) are to their great majority no users of Social Media. The study was focused on the active use of Facebook, Hyves (the most popular Dutch social networking site), LinkedIn and Twitter in Holland and of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in the US.

The most important findings: biggest corporations top managers' participation in Social Media

Dutch CEOs / CFOs                                                    US CEOs
LinkedIn                         26%                                      LinkedIn                 8%
Facebook                         6%                                      Facebook               7%
Twitter                              1%                                      Twitter                    2%
Hyves                               1%

It is interesting that the penetration of social media is higher among Dutch top managers than their American counterparts. The study also looked to the use of social media by the CEOs of the 100 fastest growing US businesses according to the Surprisingly the percentages are exactly the same as the US 100 biggest corporations!

US CEOs of 100 fastest growing corporations
LinkedIn 8%

Facebook 7%

Twitter 2%

The MarketingMonday report attributes the low adoption rates of social media to eight reasons: Age, Income and Education level, Knowledge, Time, Regulations, Fear, Cultur and Lack of Transparency. They also strongly recommend to CEOs to use social media indeed, mentioning several advantages for them and their company.

I think that age and lack of time are the main reasons for the low adoption of social media by top managers. On the other hand I have serious doubt that a CEO Facebook page will add much to the image of a big corporation. The names of CEOs are largely unknown to the public and few consumers will become friends of them. Those who would possibly be interested to become their friends are other CEOs and top managers who for all intents and purposes are also no users of social media.
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