For all of you CEOs and Founders out there who complain you don't have time to engage in social media, let me say one thing: you are dead wrong.
In today's business climate, engaging in social media isn't just a good idea; it's an absolute necessity. When done well, it can broadcast thought leadership, build brand recognition, engage current and potential customers and so much more.
If that's not enough to convince you, remember this: your competitors are out there already.
If you're not currently engaging in social media, but are thinking of getting started, I suggest you check out how these six CEOs, all masters of the game, are going about it. I may not agree with what they are saying, but I can certainly appreciate how they are using various platforms to get their messages out to their target audiences.
Richard Branson (Virgin)
Five million Twitter followers can't be wrong. Richard Branson is an absolute genius when it comes to social media, reaching his target audiences with entertaining Tweets, insightful wide ranging videos on YouTube and entertaining blog posts.
To give a feel of the diversity of Branson's messaging, his recent blog posts include:
How to Manifest Purpose in Business
- Anyone for Lemur Tennis?
- Why Children Need Nature
- The Bigger the Dream, the Bigger the Opportunity
While a large percentage of Branson's Tweets promote his blog posts, he also promotes news stories and his personal business philosophy. His most recent Tweets include:
- Diversity is an advantage--it should be embraced & encouraged
- Saddened by homophobic draft laws in Macedonia & Kyrgyzstan--awful steps back
- How to make a product that people actually want to buy, in under one minute
Jack Welch (Former GE CEO/Author/Educator)
Jack Welch may not be a Millennial, but he get's social media as if he grew up with it.
Welch, who turns 80 this year, is a prolific blogger, with recent posts including:
- 10 Leadership Lessons you Don't Want to Learn
- You're Getting Innovation all Wrong
- Three Ways to Make a Career Comeback
Welch uses Twitter to get his strong political (conservative) views to an audience of 1.45 million followers. Recent examples include:
- What a scary weak....Our President clearly demonstrated he is leading in a world as he wishes it to be...NOT AS IT IS!!!
- Chris Kyle was a great hero and American Sniper a terrific movie...Critics"get a life"
- Yemen orchestrates Paris killings...Administration releases Yemenis' terrorists within week.Congress MUST halt this madness!!!
Marissa Mayer (Yahoo!)
All you need to know about Marissa Mayer's grasp of social media is that she used a Tweet to announce Yahoo's purchase of Tumblr.
Not surprisingly, she is an active evangelist for Tumblr and is extremely active on her personal Tumblr page, "Marissa's Tumblr."
She posts frequently, with many of the posts related to Yahoo! acquisitions, partnerships and personnel changes.
While she has over 880,000 followers on Twitter, she posts infrequently and tends to post on internal developments at Yahoo!
If social media is about amplifying your brand, then Donald Trump gets social media. He dishes out the Trump bombast on Twitter with great regularity, with over 28,000 Tweets to 2.8 million followers. Some recent gems include:
- So many people have told me that I should host Meet the Press and replace the moron who is on now. Just too busy, especially next 10 years!
- Apprentice = big hit. Miss Universe = Big hit. I always get big ratings. If I hosted Meet the Press instead of Sleepy Eyes,a smash!
- As usual, the "storm of the century" was not nearly as bad as forecast. What a waste of time, energy and money!
His best use of social media are his trove of videos on YouTube, where his "From the Desk of Donald Trump" rants allow him to discuss everything from Jon Stewart to "Inconsiderate Obama."
Gary Vaynerchuk (VaynerMedia)
Vaynerchuk is in the business of social media marketing with what he calls "Microcontent." Perhaps the best advertisement for the digital capabilities of his company is his masterful use of social media across multiple platforms.
In many ways, including through his books and marvelous speeches, Vaynerchuk is a teacher. He uses social media as a teaching tool and the advice he offers is well worth heeding.
His YouTube channel and blog provide master classes in digital marketing, while his Tweets serve to provide tidbits of his philosophy and links to other content. Though VaynerMedia is a relatively small company (under 500 employees), Vaynerchuk has managed to attract iover 1.1 million followers on Twitter and over 182,000 "Likes" on Facebook.
Mark Benioff (Salesforce)
Mark Benioff is all about sharing knowledge, doing things better and innovation. He is also very much about philanthropy. Benioff uses a number of social media platforms to get these messages across.
Hardly an introvert, Benioff is a master interviewer and a collection of his interviews ("Fireside Chats") can be found on SalesForces' You Tube Channel. Interviewees include Branson, Google's Eric Schmidt and musician/entrepreneur will.i.am.
His Twitter account tends to promote Salesforce, but was particularly active last week, Tweeting heavily from the World Economic Forum in Davos:
- There are 2 kinds of CEOs in Davos: those that are authentically committed to improving the state of the world & those that aren't."
- With all the discussion of Cyber Security at Davos I am looking back at our predictions from a decade ago
- Davos is a celebration of Prof Klaus Schwab's 1971 Stakeholders Theory--a vision which transformed my vision of business for good.