H/Advisors Abernathy 2024 Digital Report Reveals Fortune 100 CEOs and CFOs Increasingly Leverage Social Media to Bolster Corporate Reputation

H/Advisors Abernathy’s second edition of the ‘Social in the C-Suite,’ Report underscores how Fortune 100 senior leaders are evolving their use of digital channels to build their reputation, speak on social issues and share business updates with key stakeholders.

Our digital team has conducted a comprehensive analysis of the Fortune 100 CEOs’ and CFOs’ social media accounts to better understand their content, channel management and engagement strategies. More than 5,000 posts were analyzed across social channels, with particular focus on content published from January 1 to December 30, 2023 on LinkedIn and X (formerly “Twitter”).

Data shows that more executives than ever are claiming their online identity and leveraging their profiles to communicate more effectively to build a positive public reputation. ​ While CEOs remain the focus, the 2024 annual report also explores how CFOs are adding their voices to the conversation on social.​

H/Advisors Abernathy’s research indicates that 68% of Fortune 100 CEOs have a social media account, amounting to a nearly 3% year-over-year increase and showcases how the use of social media channels remains a priority within the C-Suite. ​ However, CEOs no longer need to shoulder all the weight of executive engagement on social media as the analysis also found that 89% of Fortune 100 CFOs are active on social channels. “For C-Suite leaders and those on the Fortune 500 in particular, success in digital platforms has become progressively important in building and maintaining reputation at both the individual and corporate level,” said Tom Johnson, CEO of H/Advisors Abernathy.

This year’s report reveals that as shifts in business and society become more rapid, CEOs are carefully using their voice on social media to speak on critical issues​: Nearly eight out of 10 CEOs of Fortune 100 companies opted to remain quiet on social media regarding sensitive matters, instead withholding comment or speaking directly to stakeholders on other channels. “Even leaders who earned LinkedIn’s Top Voices badge were reticent to jump into the social media fray during a heated news cycle, as C-level executives increasingly explore the impact of online communication on both their own reputation and that of the business,” highlighted Akeem Anderson, Senior Vice President and head of the digital practice at H/Advisors Abernathy. “However, those that did comment saw those posts rise among their most popular, proving that top executive voices on digital channels can contribute to advancing their company’s business and communications goals​” added Anderson, noting that one in 10 of the top posts from CEOs across LinkedIn and X were related to a critical issue.​

Other key findings in the ‘Social Media in the C-Suite Report’ include:

  • LinkedIn continues to be the social media channel of choice for CEOs, as use of the platform is up 4% since 2022. ​
  • Since rebranding as X in 2023, the platform formerly known as Twitter has seen a significant downturn in executive use among CEOs, who posted more than 33,000 fewer tweets than they had in 2022. ​
  • CEOs in the tech space have increased their social media participation significantly, doubling the number of accounts year-over-year (+111%) and overtaking healthcare CEOs as segment leaders on social.
  • Nearly half of all CEOs who are not on social media also have inaccuracies in their online search profile – from errant Wikipedia entries, inaccurate bios and invalid social media accounts attached to their names. ​
  • Executive statements shared online will earn more reach than those made in traditional news. CEO comments on critical issues made online reach 53% more people than those made in print, broadcast or online news.
  • CEO statements on international conflicts were the most polarizing when shared online: Among eight key issues studied since 2020, statements related to conflicts in the Ukraine and Palestine earned the CEOs the most attention.
  • Seven of 10 CEOs own at least one social media account, while 48% of CEOs post at least once-per-month on those channels. ​
  • 89% of CFOs have a social media account and post at least once while earning a better engagement rate than their CEO counterparts.​
  • Overall, CEOs who posted less saw a decline in engagement on social media: ​Top executives shared 189% less posts on social media between 2022 and 2023, and subsequently saw a drop in engagement of 40% in that same timeframe.​
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