CEOs’ Media Habits Revealed in New Survey

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.

Ross Kelly :Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.