CEOs’ Media Habits Revealed in New Survey

Any executives out there still arguing that they're too busy for social media can firmly count themselves in the minority, according to the results of a new survey that monitored the news consumption habits of the world's business elite.

After polling 1,357 executives across 97 countries and 31 industries, Quartz found that 89% were socially active online. Unsurprisingly, professional network LinkedIn was popular, with 72% saying they used the service. Facebook came in next with 68%, followed by Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

There’s much debate over whether it’s a good idea for business leaders to grandstand in cyberspace. Doing so can give companies a human face, making them more relatable to staff and customers, while providing a new avenue for publicity.

The problems start when CEOs say something controversial enough to alienate a portion of their client base, or become so paranoid about slip-ups that they end up wasting time that could have been spent better running their companies.

“More executives got their news from websites (89%) than newspapers (74%), though the most popular source of news for business professionals was email newsletters (94%).

The results of the Quartz survey contrast with an oft-quoted study published last year by ceo.com, which found that 61% of CEOs heading companies in the S&P 500 had no social media presence whatsoever. To be sure, the percentage had shrunk from 68% in 2014 and Quartz’s survey wasn’t isolated to American companies.

Quartz also talked to executives at less senior levels, with C-suiters making up about half of its respondents, and considered the simple act of news gathering as constituting being an active user. More than half (60%) said they intentionally used social media to get news, with Twitter counting as their most popular source ahead of Facebook and LinkedIn.

More executives got their news from websites (89%) than newspapers (74%), though the most popular source of news for business professionals was email newsletters (94%). “Executives are more protective of their time than ever,” Quartz said.

Most executives said they were likely to share good content, especially long-form articles. But pictures got their initial attention, with 68% saying data visualizations most regularly pulled them into a piece of content, closely followed by charts and photography.

And it appears CEOs don’t mind consuming the odd bit of advertising, with 84% of respondents saying the are open to content from brands, so long as it’s high-quality and clearly labeled. Almost three quarters found the last piece of sponsor content they read interesting, informative and valuable.


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