Skip to main content

Fortune 500 CEOs gradually using social media, but most still can’t be bothered

Twitter quote
Image used with permission by copyright holder
As social media increasingly becomes a dominant force in marketing for nearly any type of business, there is, surprisingly, a small group of Fortune 500 CEOs who, according to a study by Domo and, are still underutilizing social media. However, when compared to previous years, there is a small uptick, with new brands to the elite list and younger CEOs leading the way to increasing engagement on certain social networking platforms.

While there are users such as CEO Jack Salzwedel of American Family Insurance, who consider social media integral to their leadership, the majority of CEOs are still avoiding social media altogether. “Some CEOs say they’re too busy for social media. I say, it’s part of the job,” Salzwedel told Domo and In fact, according to’s study, 61 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence at all. While this is a slight improvement over last year’s 68 percent, it still encompasses a large part of the business world that has simply chosen to opt out of networking online. Of the 39 percent of the CEOs who were active on social media, 70 percent were only active on one network, and as of 2015 data, not one single Fortune 500 CEO was active on all six major social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube.

Further, of the Fortune 500 CEOs, the 70 percent who were active on just one social network joined LinkedIn first and 41 percent were featured on their companies’ YouTube channels, indicating that there might be more interest if the platform is strictly limited to business purposes.

Younger generation of CEOs tend to be more active on a social media platform, as well as new CEOs of existing companies and companies that are new to the Fortune 500 list; these CEOs are the ones contributing to the slight increases in social media engagement. Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Expedia’s Dara Khosrowshahi, and Harley-Davidson’s Matthew Levatich are among the CEOs who are leading the way in how corporate leaders are engaging with customers on social media, and showing the human side of big business.

Despite big business’ use of Twitter for customer service, Fortune 500 CEOs find little time to tweet. According to, of the 50 Fortune 500 CEOs on Twitter, 16 have tweeted less than 25 times during their entire time on the network. This includes those that with enormous numbers of followers such as IBM’s Virginia Rometty and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, who currently has more than one million followers. Instagram and Google+ are even more underutilized than Twitter.

Some reasons that Fortune 500 CEOs might avoid social media, according to the research, could be that they are simply too busy, plus it’s difficult to recognize the benefits. Further, there are a large number of CEOs and businesspeople in general who just haven’t received any sort of coaching or training on the best ways to use social media.

And while video as a whole has increasingly become the preferred feature on social media platforms among users of all professions, ages, and backgrounds, it is growing faster than any other social medium among CEOs. This could indicate even more growth online among Fortune 500 CEOs in the near future.

Editors' Recommendations

Christina Majaski
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Christina has written for print and online publications since 2003. In her spare time, she wastes an exorbitant amount of…
How to make a GIF from a YouTube video
woman sitting and using laptop

Sometimes, whether you're chatting with friends or posting on social media, words just aren't enough -- you need a GIF to fully convey your feelings. If there's a moment from a YouTube video that you want to snip into a GIF, the good news is that you don't need complex software to so it. There are now a bunch of ways to make a GIF from a YouTube video right in your browser.

If you want to use desktop software like Photoshop to make a GIF, then you'll need to download the YouTube video first before you can start making a GIF. However, if you don't want to go through that bother then there are several ways you can make a GIF right in your browser, without the need to download anything. That's ideal if you're working with a low-specced laptop or on a phone, as all the processing to make the GIF is done in the cloud rather than on your machine. With these options you can make quick and fun GIFs from YouTube videos in just a few minutes.
Use for great customization
Step 1: Find the YouTube video that you want to turn into a GIF (perhaps a NASA archive?) and copy its URL.

Read more
I paid Meta to ‘verify’ me — here’s what actually happened
An Instagram profile on an iPhone.

In the fall of 2023 I decided to do a little experiment in the height of the “blue check” hysteria. Twitter had shifted from verifying accounts based (more or less) on merit or importance and instead would let users pay for a blue checkmark. That obviously went (and still goes) badly. Meanwhile, Meta opened its own verification service earlier in the year, called Meta Verified.

Mostly aimed at “creators,” Meta Verified costs $15 a month and helps you “establish your account authenticity and help[s] your community know it’s the real us with a verified badge." It also gives you “proactive account protection” to help fight impersonation by (in part) requiring you to use two-factor authentication. You’ll also get direct account support “from a real person,” and exclusive features like stickers and stars.

Read more
Here’s how to delete your YouTube account on any device
How to delete your YouTube account

Wanting to get out of the YouTube business? If you want to delete your YouTube account, all you need to do is go to your YouTube Studio page, go to the Advanced Settings, and follow the section that will guide you to permanently delete your account. If you need help with these steps, or want to do so on a platform that isn't your computer, you can follow the steps below.

Note that the following steps will delete your YouTube channel, not your associated Google account.

Read more