Social Media Branding Key For Company Reputation . / Credit: Social Media Image via Shutterstock

CEOs who embrace social media can give a boost to their company's reputation, new research shows.

A study by the social media branding firm BRANDfrog found that social media provides an opportunity for brand leaders to build better connections with customers, employees and shareholders.

Specifically, nearly 84 percent of employees surveyed believe that CEO social media engagement is an effective tool to increase brand loyalty, while 68 percent think that C-suite social media use enhances the perception that a company is honest and trustworthy.

In addition, more than 80 percent of employees said they believe that social media is an important communications channel for CEOs to engage in with both customers and investors.

"We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the culture of modern leadership, brought upon by social media but sustained by the strategic inventiveness of smart CEOs,"  BRANDfog CEO Ann Charles said. "The role of the CEO has been transformed by social media and CEOs have no choice but to become more visible, social and accessible than ever before."

Despite the benefits that come from it, CEO social media engagement remains slow. The study found that risk aversion, time constraints, fear of negative feedback, and a lack of a social media strategy are the primary barriers preventing company leaders from using social media.

"C-suite executives who ignore this trend miss an enormous opportunity to shape ongoing conversations about their individual and corporate brands, and do so at their peril," Charles said.

The research was based on surveys of 800 employees in the U.S. and United Kingdom from a wide range of company sizes and industries.

Follow Chad Brooks on Twitter @cbrooks76 or BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+.