Is Social Media for CEOs?

For many companies, the chief executive officer is not only the boss but the leading spokesperson.

CEOs spend a lot of time talking their company’s performance and strategic vision, as well as having ongoing dialogue with customers, suppliers, partners, investors and employees.

But should CEOs be involved in social media, which is becoming a part of the corporate communications arsenal?

In theory, CEOs should probably participate in social media but the reality is that few CEOs are activity involved, particularly among larger companies.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is a hard-core member of the TwitterSphere but he’s an exception to the rule.

Many CEOs are ill-equipped to do social media. The biggest obstacles are:

– A lack of time given that social media can be a time-consuming activity when done on a regular basis.

– Not having strong enough communication skills to effectively use social media, particularly when it involves blogging.

– Limitations on what they can or want to say publicly, especially CEOs of publicly-traded companies in which disclosures rules are a fact of life.

While CEOs with smaller companies may be able to embrace and use social media, the most logical option for CEOs of large companies is using social media as another way to communicate when and if needed.

Ford Motor Alan Mulally often appears within the company’s social media activities such as Twitter, YouTube and the blog by doing interviews.

Here’s a video showing Mulally participating on Twitter with the help of Scott Monty, the company’s head of social media.

Perhaps the biggest way for a CEO to support their company’s social media efforts is by being a social media champion within the organization, thereby setting the tone for the entire organization.

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