Twitter’s Vital Role in Modern Business: How Will CEO’s React?

In the ever-changing world of technology, companies must constantly adapt in order to keep themselves relevant. The individuals in charge of these companies are responsible for finding new and exciting ways to compete in new market places. Specifically, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, is the individual that is tasked with this. If the CEO wants to keep his/her job, he/she must find an effective way to keep the company profitable. One way to do this is by analyzing data. An increasingly popular method for CEO’s to monitor data and other applicable information is Twitter.

Richard Branson, Virgin Group Chairman

Most business executives today, especial tech-savvy executives, would agree that Twitter is almost a requirement of business. Some famous CEO’s are taking this belief one step further and creating their own personal accounts. For example, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer uses her twitter account to post photos and news developments while even providing a slight insight into her everyday life. She would describe her style as casually providing a behind the scenes look without giving away too much. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, uses Twitter to provide insights about happiness and business that go along with Zappos’ vision. George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research in Cambridge, stated in an interview that if, as a CEO, one does not have a Twitter in five years then he/she should not be a CEO.

Colony feels this strongly about Twitter’s usage in the professional sphere because of its many advantages. For example, Twitter offers a company and its CEO a unique avenue to connect to the consumers as well as its own employees. One CEO described Twitter as not a social medium but a powerful broadcasting tool that allows one to engage in global conversations. Another advantage of CEO Twitter use is for the executive to monitor the energy and momentum of one’s own company and others. Finally, another executive agreed that it is a good way to gauge the interest of others in what the company is doing. The amount of a CEO’s or company’s followers, people who are genuinely interested in what he/she has to say or does, provides a good amount of data about the consumer.

Phil Libin, Evernote CEO

In present times, everyone knows who the big money-making CEO’s of major companies are. It is also possible that consumer could hold a grudge with these individuals because of the amount of compensation they receive. By using a personal yet professional Twitter account, CEO’s can create a personality behind their public perception that could be beneficial to the well-being of the company. A recent survey suggests that both customers and employees place greater trust in social media savvy Twitter using CEO’s.  The corresponding numbers are 77% of consumers and 82% of employees trust or view favorably a more visible CEO. Regarding employees, a CEO’s Twitter account is a very effective and easy means of communicating with one’s employees. A properly used Twitter account would follow in the footsteps of Zara’s and Netflix’s data collecting processes. By paying attention to the consumer’s tweets, a CEO can gather data on what the consumer wants and become better equipped to react to their changing needs, as Zara does.

Recently, I was having dinner with my roommate’s father who is an executive at a regional energy company. He asked me about something I had read that day, and I responded that I had read an interesting tweet about a story, but had not actually read the entire story. He proceeded to bash Twitter and our generation for “not reading enough.” But, as technology advances, Twitter is become more and more relevant and it is clearly something he was not well-versed in. In conclusion, business executives must learn to adapt to this new technological advancement or they will not be executives anymore, like Gap’s Micky Drexler and Paul Pressler.

You can find a slideshow of 50 great executives that use Twitter here.


7 thoughts on “Twitter’s Vital Role in Modern Business: How Will CEO’s React?

  1. I agree that Twitter is becoming increasingly important to companies. Similarly, I think Facebook is also important for a company. I have heard many stories of customers complaining about a company or a service that was provided to them. In many of these cases, the company will tweet back or comment a way to compensate the customer. After poor service by Top Chef Spike’s pizza place in DC, my brother took to twitter to complain. Within an hour, Spike himself tweeted back saying to stop by at any location to have a meal on the house. Things such as this, although simple, can save companies from losing a ton of customers. By word-of-mouth, my brother could have discouraged anywhere from 1 to 20 people from going to their restaurant.

    I also agree with you that it could be beneficial for the CEO of a company to have a Twitter account. This, as you pointed out, can make the CEO seem more personable and perhaps change the perception of the company and upper management. As long as they don’t start tweeting some of the obscure personal things celebrities tweet (Amanda Bynes), I think twitter can really help the image and in turn business of a company.

  2. I think that one of the biggest benefits of CEOs having a personal twitter account is their subsequent ability to create a personality. I believe that this sort of social media allows a consumer to connect with a business on a personal level. I know that I would be much more loyal to buying Coke over Pepsi if my dad worked for either of the companies. Similarly, if a consumer can create a relationship with the CEO of a company (even virtually), then the consumer may feel loyalty towards that particular brand. At the very least, Twitter acts as a medium for free advertising. Executives are able to post about sales, releases, or other events.

    I am a little confused, however, as to how Twitter can act as a source of data for companies. Sure, there are the occasional outburst on Twitter towards a company, but I’ve mainly heard of these outbursts in a negative light. I can see how number of followers shows interest, but how can you leverage twitter to find out what consumers needs are?

  3. I liked this blog post because it illustrated how companies and regular people alike are still adapting and learning how to best utilize social media sites. As Kevin and Courtney stated above, I too believe that a CEO having a twitter can improve the company’s image and overall customer morale about the business. I think that the number of followers and likes on certain posts can give companies a decent indication of how they are being perceived by the public and what possible areas they can improve in. Additionally, I liked how you created a hidden link to the article you used as the information behind your blog. It was a subtle but nice touch that showed you took the time to make the blog more visually appealing. Finally, I liked how you ended with a personal story about the topic. It really made the information more relatable. I admit that in reading things online, I am more inclined to skim the text, but I think the demonstrates society’s growing need for fast, to the point information. People want to know what the facts are, how it impacts them, and what can be done about it without interrupting the scroll of their newsfeed too much.

  4. I think you did a great job explaining your reasoning why businesses should use Twitter with the changing times. Your roommate’s father is also the perfect example of the generation gap that is reluctant to adapt to the new opportunities that technology provides for us. With millions of people on Twitter, businesses can advertise and connect with more customers than ever possible before this technology existed. Sure, some old advertising methods will still exist, but as the generations become more technologically oriented, these methods may become extinct. Whether these business executives like it or not, Twitter and other social media sites are the future of advertising and the success of businesses.

  5. I completely agree. People sometimes forget that Twitter was more created for things like this than for how most people use it. Twitter is extremely powerful, as some big companies and CEO’s can gain 500,000 followers and they can reach out to them whenever they want. And its free! TV adds that last 30 seconds can cost a company a million dollars, but a tweet costs next to nothing. In business, I think it is important for people to get Twitter because the world is changing, and reaching out to customers 24/7 is a way to stay profitable and in the picture. Also, people like to know what big time business CEO’s are interested in, because it makes them real people and not just a name. Twitter allows them to do that. Use it.

  6. I couldn’t agree more with you. Last semester I attended to a business conference in which the CEO of Equinox gave the opening speech. Here, she stressed the importance of having leaders use twitter in order to better communicate with their followers or customers. I follow her and she does not really publicize her gyms. Contrarily, she offers health and exercise tips that match exactly what Equinox mission is. She also offers details into what is somewhat her private life, often tweeting about her daughters. I believe this is a way to not only suggest her services but also appeal to the people as a normal person.

  7. I would be very interested in seeing data measuring the impact of active twitter usage on the company’s brand image. CEO’s typically handle much higher-level tasks, and I question whether their time is used wisely managing a twitter account.

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