Despite many business executives' reluctance to use Facebook and Twitter to communicate with customers and clients, new research shows leaders who buck the trend and use social media help raise a brand's profile, instill confidence in a company’s leadership team and build greater trust, brand loyalty and purchase intent among customers.
In a study by social media branding firm BRANDfog, more than 80 percent of those surveyed believed CEOs who engage on social media are better equipped than their peers to lead companies in today's technology-laden world. Additionally, 93 percent believe that executive engagement on social media helps communicate company values and grow and evolve corporate leadership in times of crisis.
BRANDfog CEO Ann Charles said America is at a point where business leaders can't afford to shirk social media.
"As consumers begin to seek out brands that serve a broader social purpose, the best way to articulate company values is through the voice of the executive leadership team," Charles said. "This bolsters confidence in business leadership and provides a halo effect for the entire brand."
Among those surveyed, more than 80 percent said they were more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team engage in social media.
The next generation of business leaders will require a new set of talents and skills, including social media prowess, to be successful, Charles said.
"The simple truth is, the survey confirms that CEO social media interactions will build lasting relationships between brands, customers and investors, which will lead to a corporate culture with a foundation in transparency and openness," Charles said. "This will be the genesis of better business leadership."
The study was based on surveys of several hundred employees of diverse businesses, spanning in size from startups to Fortune 500 companies, and working at all levels of their respective organizations.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.