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What You Can Learn from the Top CEOs on Twitter

Find out the surprising names on the list, and what they have to teach you.
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It should not be news to you (at least we hope) that many CEOs are active on Twitter. But for those of you not tweeting or new to Twitter, you may be wondering whom is worth following-and why.

Klout uses various data and calculates what its says are the 50 CEOs who are "the most influential" on Twitter. Scan the top 50 (go here), and a couple of things become obvious:

People who dominate traditional media also are likely to dominate Twitter. Yes, tech entrepreneurs tend to be more influential on Twitter. But so are traditional media heavyweights, like Oprah Winfrey and Rupert Murdoch.

Fortune 100 CEOs, though, are still scarce. Just four Fortune 100 CEOs even were on Twitter in June 2011.  But CEOs who are on Twitter are likely to attract a large following quickly, even if they spend most of their time promoting their company. Brian Dunn, CEO of Best Buy (@BBYCEO), was one of the first CEOs to tweet in 2009, and he is #29 on Klout's list. It's worth noting, though, a presence on Twitter doesn't necessarily signify innovation in business. The electronic chain Dunn manages has been fiercely criticized by the tech media as a "relic."

It's easy to get in trouble, even when you have any army of publicists at your disposal. Micky Arison, CEO of Carnival Corporation (@MickyArison), joined in 2011 and is #14 in Klout's list. Arison got in hot water because of tweets he made in connection with his ownership of the Miami Heat. He was fined $500,000 by the NBA for a tweet he made about negotiations between the NBA league and the player's union.

Two CEO Tweeters You Can Learn From

For quick insights into social media, follow Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable, a site that covers social media. There is a good reason Cashmore's twitter feed is ranked #1 on Klout's most influential CEO list. With tweets that report on the latest developments ("RIP Desktop: Why Your Computer is Becoming More Like Your Phone") you will feel up to date just by scanning his tweets once a day.

To see how a CEO used Twitter to handle a scandal, follow Dave Morin, CEO of the Path.  Morin stumbled badly at first when a hacker discovered that the micro-social network had been uploading user phone book data on to its server through the iPhone app.  Bloggers, tweeters and newspaper reporters alike took Morin to task at first when he seemed to be defending the practice. But he listened and learned; he wrote an apology on the company blog-and on Twitter.   "We are not trying to do anything evil here. Hope that the proactive work we've been doing shows that," he wrote in one Tweet.

Do you think more CEOs should join Twitter? Share your thoughts below.

This article was originally published at The Build Network.

Last updated: Jan 20, 2014

THE BUILD NETWORK STAFF

The Build Network staff curates provocative, actionable leadership advice for executive teams running sustained-growth companies.




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