Should CEOs Be Using Social Media?

It’s clear that social media has become an invaluable asset in our modern day world. However, social media can be detrimental to company and brand images for the same reasons that they have become so widely used. Specifically, the ease of information distribution, low barriers to entry and speed of transmission have aided us in ways that traditional media outlets could not have. Although companies and brands often have a team of Public Relations or Marketing professionals running their social media platforms, CEOs more often post on their own platforms with unfiltered content. Should CEO’s be encouraged to use social media?

With the convergence of media, technology and media platforms have evolved to be more interconnected than ever before. It is important for brands as well as their CEOs to stay relevant and not only understand but also utilize social media to their advantage. The usage of social media allows brands to communicate easily through a multitude of channels with their target consumers in a timely fashion.

Brands are increasingly adopting thoughtful personalities, allowing consumers to connect with the brand on a level beyond the basic functionality of a product or service. When CEOs utilize social media in a smart manner, they present the brand in a more human fashion and also are able to brand themselves as thought leaders instead of emotionless figureheads. For example, T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, has a very active Twitter account. Through his Tweets, he showcases his humor, his professionality in dealing with customer service complaints, and also participates in live video streams in order to directly interact with his customers. John is a great example of a CEO utilizing social media to his advantage in improving his personal brand as well as advocating for T-Mobile.

Social media, when used irresponsibly, can also have detrimental effects. These range from cybersecurity leaks to legal risks. It may be helpful for the CEO to have an advisor to consult rather than giving complete freedom to post on social media. For example, Elon Musk is famous for also being an active Tweeter. He has taken stances on many important issues such as the Thai cave rescue as well as launching various projects for SpaceX. However, in early August this year, he tweeted that he planned to take Tesla private. This tweet was not discussed with any of the company’s shareholders, caused Tesla’s stocks to rally as high as $371 and also drew confusion among the public as there was no official statement from the Tesla PR team. This is a typical example of how the ease of social media posting can harm a brand. It was very unprofessional of Elon Musk to use Twitter as a platform to announce such news and has since then caused Tesla’s potential consumers to doubt Musk’s psychological conditions.

In conclusion, social media is an exceptional tool to improve a brand’s image and reach potential consumers if used correctly. CEO’s should definitely utilize social media platforms in order to develop their online personalities and communicate with their potential consumers. It is helpful to follow a set of guidelines in order to keep the social media posts professional and beneficial for the brand.


— Belle Zhang