Making my own way through the social sphere

I celebrated a minor milestone recently, chalking up my 1000th Twitter follower.thumb-craig-dent

I know that doesn’t make me a master of social, but I’m pleased to be connecting with more people.

I’ve never been a social media native, but I’ve really enjoyed tinkering under the bonnet of my online profile and seeing the changes that occur when I share more about myself and my interests.

Technology is revealing more about the power and influence of social networks every day.

I’m encouraged to see more people experimenting, including Her Majesty, who recently sent her first tweet (and yes, I’m jealous I’ve never generated 31,000 retweets).

Two years ago Deloitte released “Digital disruption – Short fuse, big bang?” (PDF) a report that warned that two thirds of the Australian economy would experience significant digital disruption within the next five years.

So, if both small and large businesses are catching on, why is it taking so much longer for organisations’ leadership to join in?

The Social CEO Report 2014 found almost 70 per cent of CEOs have no social presence on the major networks (including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). Of the CEOs who are on social, over two thirds only use one platform.

There’s also the problem of CEOs underinvesting once they’re there. Almost half of the CEOs on Twitter tweet just once a month. With such limited activity it’s not surprising 74 per cent of CEOs have engagement scores of less than 10/100.

Now for the good news. More CEOs are working out the value of social networks. There are currently 42 Fortune 500 CEOs on Twitter (up from 28 last year) and if business leaders worry they’re too old for it they needn’t worry. Why? Because with 844,000 and 530,000 followers respectively, octogenarian business magnates Warren Buffett and Rupert Murdoch are lighting it up.

It’s hard to say why more CEOs aren’t on social media.

When it comes to demonstrating care for customers, building effective relationships, and putting a human face to the companies we lead, I don’t think any channel has the power to create such profound and immediate results in the way social does. Another reason to engage is because it’s very measurable – just as I’m finding out.

I’m happy to be a member of the digital community but also humble enough to admit I’ve got lots to learn. I’m happy to keep experimenting and connecting with like-minded people.

To my fellow CEOs who are yet to get started I have a simple message for you, come join me.

Follow Craig on Twitter (@cdent)

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