Worldwide research: CEOs more present on LinkedIn, but still silent on Twitter

  • As in 2017, ECCO International Communications examined more than 20 countries worldwide
  • France again on top, followed by Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands
  • US CEOs have by far the largest number of followers
The CEOs of the world's largest stock exchange companies are more visible on social media than two years ago. Today, 58% of the CEOs are represented on LinkedIn, up from 41% two years ago. Twitter still has not many fans on boardroom level. Only 17% of board members are active there, a minimal increase compared to 14% in 2017.

These are the key findings of a study conducted by PR network ECCO International Communications. ECCO's experts analysed the social media activities of the CEOs of the 20 largest listed companies by market capitalisation in 21 countries. The study examined whether the CEOs themselves are active on Twitter and have a LinkedIn profile. The study was conducted for the second time after 2017.

France again on top
CEOs in France are the most active on social media, with the research showing they are more than twice as likely to appear on LinkedIn and Twitter than British bosses. Denmark follows closely in second place, with a presence on 23 channels, while Australia shares third place with the Netherlands – both of them have 19 CEOs on LinkedIn or Twitter.

As with 2017’s study, USA CEOs still have by far the most followers, despite the country ranking only 5th for total presence on social media. Apple‘s CEO Tim Cook continues to top the chart worldwide with more than 11 million followers on Twitter (an increase of 120% since 2017). Satya Nadella leads the way on LinkedIn, with over 6 million followers (an increase of 300% since 2017).

Although India is ranked in last place, the Indian Twitterer Uday Kotak, CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, is in 3rd place worldwide with almost 1 million followers. The investor legend Warren Buffet has 1.5 million followers and nine tweets so far, but the last tweet is from 2016, so that this account was not included in the evaluation. In some countries, board members set up a Twitter account a few years ago, but haven't yet sent a single tweet, or the last post was sent several years ago. Such accounts were not included in the evaluation, but only managers who had been active on Twitter for at least the past 12 months.

The most active CEO on Twitter comes from Spain. José María Álvarez-Pallete, CEO of Telefónica, has been active on Twitter since 2010 and has published over 36,000 tweets since then, making him the uncontested leader among CEOs. On average, that's 10 tweets per day.

ECCO Board Member and head of the study Patrick Sutter said: "LinkedIn is becoming more and more important, while most CEOs continue to shy away from communication on Twitter. On LinkedIn there are two types of managers. The CEOs who only have a profile and almost no activities. On the other hand, there are active LinkedIn users who regularly post their own contributions and articles as well as comment on other contributions, making them an important ambassador for the company. The study also clearly shows one thing: On the career network LinkedIn, managers in almost all countries have more followers than on Twitter.​"

The following countries were include in the ECCO study: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

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