Tweeter-in-Chief: When CEOs Start Twittering, Look Out

CEO are under pressure these days to appear “authentic,” reports The Wall Street Journal’s Leslie Kwoh and Melissa Korn, but using social media—with its demands for quick, unscripted messages—poses risks for the unsuspecting boss.

Jeff Immelt, GE’s Chief Executive recently debuted a microblogging site which makes him a rarity among bosses who ordinarily avoid social media even as their companies embrace it. CEOs are gradually seeing social media as a way of communicating with customers and wooing new business. But blogging or twittering while being the boss can have an ugly downside. Simple updates can go viral. Sensitive information can leak inadvertently. Trade secrets can leach out beyond the company. Then there is regulation FD which is anything not generally shared can lead to lawsuits or angry constituents.

The WSJ’s Kwoh and Korn report that most CEOs say they are too busy running their companies to spend time posting a 140-character message to Twitter, let along retweeting posts from others. “What’s more, for some companies the business case for using the cite can seem unclear, with no direct correlation between Twitter followers and sales,” according to the Journal writers.

Former Medtronic CEO Bill George, now teaching management at the Harvard Business School, disagrees, saying people want to know who the CEO is.

In addition to GE’s Immelt, Ocean Spray Cranberries CEO Randy Papadellis, also recently started to Tweet. But almost immediately his director communications nixed his initial tweets about drinking cranberry juice before eating sushi to prevent food poisoning. The communications director was concerned because the claim hadn’t been clinically proven. According to the Journal authors, seven in 10 Fortune 500 CEO have no presence on social media networks. Among those who do, they say, 4 % have Twitter accounts and 8 percent use Facebook under their own names.

“When she was tapped to head the struggling Internet company, Melissa Mayer, who is pregnant with her first child rallied her troops and investors by posting photos of Yahoo-themed baby clothes. But cautionary tales abound. In May, fashion retailer Francesca’s Holdings Corp. fired its chief financial officer, Gene Morphis, after he took to Facebook and Twitter with posts about earnings calls, snide remarks about short sellers and self-congratulatory comments after the company completed a secondary share offering.”

Fortune 500 CEOs who have Twitter accounts have an average of 33,250 followers, according to CEO.com and Domo. A business celebrity like Jack Welch has 1.3 million followers, add the Journal. Kwoh and Korn also report that many CEOs get a helping hand, either in the forms of edits or wholly ghostwriiten Tweets. “GE’s Immelt, for instance, has a team that works to ‘execute his vision’ on Twitter. The Tweets are a result of a discussion between Immelt and Deirdre Latour, GE’ senior director of communications.”

“Zappos founder CEO Tony Hsieh, an early adopter, hasn’t posted for many months. He reckons the network is good for making announcements, but has lost its intimate , chatty feel.”

Read: https://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444083304578018423363962886.html

Read: https://thebuildnetwork.com/2012/02/most-influential-ceos-on-twitter-who-they-are-what-they-will-teach-you/


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)

     

    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.