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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Cool CEOs go social

Vivek Sinha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 23, 2013
First Published: 20:46 IST(23/6/2013) | Last Updated: 01:04 IST(24/6/2013)

If you thought that updating Facebook status or putting out short messages on micro-blogging site Twitter is the preserve of the young and the not-so-serious, think again. A recent study by KRC Research and Weber Shandwick has found that nearly half of company CEOs in India are on the social media. And the share is expected to grow.

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According to the study The Social CEO: Executives Tell All found that close to 47% of Indian CEOs are active on social media. This is expected to touch 60% by 2018.

The study found that company heads find social media a convenient way of sharing news and information about their company — apart from helping attracting customers. It also gives companies a human face, and helps them reach out to manage crises.

CEOs themselves take advantage of social media to reach out to employees, customers and business associates, and the employees feel 'inspired' by the presence of their CEO on social media.

“Whenever something new comes along, we tend to see the negatives more than the good things. But CEOs, no matter what generation or industry they are from, have to realise that social media is here to stay. And if they are not using it they are missing something,” said Prakash Iyer, CEO Kimberly-Clark Lever India.

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Some CEOs are shy either because social media wastes time or their companies are not the transparent type. Around 45% executives considered a CEO’s participation in social media to be risky, with no measurable return on investment.

However, the report says many Indian CEOs have a broader definition of social media, and even shy ones make good use of the company website and the internal network for that social connect.

"For CEOs to be effective story tellers, they need to strategically select all those digital tools that will advance their business-ranging from their company's own intranet and website to social network pages and feeds to video and image sharing platforms," the report said, arguing that communicating with shareholders and employees is equally important for a company head, as monitoring the stock price of their companies.


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