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The Easy Way to Compete With the Fortune 500

Here's how to create a huge competitive advantage over much larger companies.

Last week, published it's second annual Social CEO Report, examining in great detail the social networking presence of each of the Fortune 500 CEOs.

The findings were disappointing: 68 percent of CEOs have absolutely no presence on any of the major social networks: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Plus. Here are a few more highlights (or lowlights, depending upon how you look at it) from the report:

  • Just over one quarter, or 140 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are on LinkedIn, the leading social network for business professionals.
  • Only 35 (or 7 percent) of the Fortune 500 CEOs are personally on Facebook. This category is led obviously by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has 16 million followers.
  • A pathetic 28 (or 5.6 percent) of the Fortune 500 CEOs are on Twitter. Only 19 or them (or 3.7 percent) have active Twitter accounts.

Those disappointing results about Fortune 500 CEOs, though, become a compelling reason for entrepreneurial leaders to get social. As this infographic from December shows, Inc. 500 CEOs are decidedly more social than their Fortune 500 counterparts.

Unlike large company CEOs, who are, for the most part, afraid to use social media or don't understand it (or both), leaders of fast-growth, entrepreneurial ventures can better compete with their giant counterparts by going social.

Here are three dead simple ways to use social media to your advantage over the big guys:

1. Listen. Listen to your customers and prospects--and your big competitors' customers and prospects.

2. Tell your story. More people pay attention online, while they fast forward through your big competitors' TV commercials.

3. Find and recruit new talented, employees. And do it before big companies find them.

These are just three of the many ways you can build a distinct advantage over your Fortune 500 competitors. They may have massive resources, but while their CEOs remain afraid and unconvinced about social media, you can step in (and step on to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), and win away customers, employees, and the hearts, minds, and dollars of your market.

How social are you in leading your company?

Last updated: Aug 13, 2013

DAVE KERPEN | Columnist | CEO, Likeable Media

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business. Want to learn about how to grow your business using social media in 2 minutes? Click here.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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