Get social and get cred: Engaged CEOs improve perceptions

Published on the 14/06/2017 | Written by Newsdesk

Social executives

Study reveals companies with ‘social executives’ perceived 23 percent more positively than those without…

Turns out social media isn’t the preserve of teenage girls, malcontents and time wasters everywhere. According to research from social media management vendor Hootsuite, business executives using Twitter, LinkedIn and whatever else floats the social media boat are perceived more positively.

That is, of course, until those executives do something indelicate on social media, which has cost careers.

In its report, “The Social Executive: How to Influence Trust, Transparency, and the Bottom Line,” Hootsuite highlights the impact of executive social media activity on the trust, perception and credibility of Australian companies.

It said in a statement, ‘with trust in chief executives at its lowest in recent years, research found that Australian companies led by CEOs who are active on social media – “social executives” – are perceived 23 percent more positively than companies without’.

This is something well-understood by Xero CEO Rod Drury, who some time ago told iStart that one of the keys to success as a listed company is to “Start a blog and social media presence. And develop a thick skin.”

Hootsuite said its research ‘highlights the opportunity for executives to influence their organisation’s perception, build brand trust, and drive employee advocacy’.

Analysing the social media behaviours of ASX200 chief executives across Australia and New Zealand, Hootsuite explained that it established a Digital Perception Index (DPI) to provide an indication of public sentiment towards a company, analysing more than 145,000 social posts from 1 October 2016 to 30 April 2017.

In addition to that ’23 percent’ figure, it said that while 66 percent of ASX200 chief executives have a social media presence, only 10 percent are active on social media. Some 86 percent of Asia Pacific executives believe social CEOs have a positive impact on a company’s reputation, with 76 percent believing it enhances their credibility.

Hootsuite said, ‘those with trusted, capable communications counsel from their marketing leadership are better armed and ready to deploy and benefit from the strategic use of social media’.

“Corporate reputation and business performance are increasingly dependent on social media. Social executives have more success inspiring employees, attracting new customers and talent, and building loyalty and trust,” said Rich Meiklejohn, Hootsuite APAC GM. “Having the support and involvement of all teams within an organisation is crucial to help executives build an active professional brand on social media channels.”

And who are these social executives, then? Hootsuite said the top ones, in alphabetical order, are:

Alex Malley CEO of CPA Australia, @AlexMalleyCEO
Andrew Penn CEO of Telstra, @Andy_Penn
Andrew Vessey CEO and MD of AGL, @AndyVesey_AGL
Cindy Hook CEO of Deloitte Australia, @Cindy_Hook
Geoff Lloyd CEO and MD of Perpetual Ltd, @GeoffvLloyd
Jon Sutton CEO of Bank of Queensland, @JonSutton_
Matt Barrie CEO of, @MattBarrie
Naomi Simson Founder and CEO of Red Balloon, @NaomiSimson
Paul Perreault CEO and MD of CSL
Shayne Elliott CEO at ANZ Bank, @ElliottShayne
Tim Reed CEO of MYOB, @TimReedMYOB

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