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Friending in High Places: Business Leaders On Facebook and Instagram

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Executive engagement on social media has become an integral part of the corporate communication mix, and Facebook and Instagram are making their way into executive floors and boardrooms of many global companies. For the last six years, Burson-Marsteller has studied how heads of state, governments and international organizations use social media
channels. For the last two years, it has produced reports specifically about world leaders’ use of Facebook. This year, in addition to studying world leaders, Burson-Marsteller conducted this study of business leaders to see how they connect with their audiences on Facebook and

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Friending in High Places: Business Leaders On Facebook and Instagram

  1. 1. Friending in High Places | 1 FRIENDING IN HIGH PLACES: BUSINESS LEADERS ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM INTRODUCTION Executive engagement on social media has become an integral part of the corporate communication mix, and Facebook and Instagram are making their way into executive floors and boardrooms of many global companies. For the last six years, Burson-Marsteller has studied how heads of state, governments and international organizations use social media channels. For the last two years, it has produced reports specifically about world leaders’ use of Facebook. This year, in addition to studying world leaders, Burson-Marsteller conducted this study of business leaders to see how they connect with their audiences on Facebook and Instagram. The adoption of Facebook by business leaders is growing and slowly becoming mainstream, while the use of Instagram is catching up and showing similar trends. In 2016, Facebook registered the fastest pace of growth of Fortune 500 and Global Fortune 500 executives joining the platform, including Wal-Mart’s CEO Doug McMillon and PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi. Executive communications on Facebook and Instagram are often a team effort, and most executive pages are operated by the business leader, their communications team and often also a communications agency. Executives should consider setting up a page that is public by default, rather than a personal profile. Public pages can be easily managed by multiple administrators and include robust performance insights. Public Facebook pages tend to rank higher in Google search than private Facebook profiles. Administrators also have the possibility to create targeted marketing campaigns, publish ads and boost posts to increase the business leader’s visibility on the platform. Public Facebook profile s
  2. 2. Friending in High Places | 2 ABOUT THIS STUDY Friending in High Places: Business Leaders on Facebook and Instagram is Burson-Marsteller's latest research into how business leaders communicate on both social networks. For this study, Burson-Marsteller looked at 167 verified public Facebook pages and 224 public Instagram accounts of business leaders with the titles of CEO, President, Owner or Founder. Additional verified business leader accounts were not included if they were from non-profit leaders, motivational speakers or media figures. Individuals with private pages were only reviewed for their follower count, as other data on private pages is inaccessible. Burson-Marsteller collected data on February 1, 2017 using Facebook’s CrowdTangle tool to capture historic data including engagement (post comments, likes, shares), interaction rates and all video views and posts from 2016. Burson-Marsteller’s proprietary Burson Tools were used to analyze the connections between the business leaders’ pages and the people they follow. TERMINOLOGY In the study, Burson-Marsteller collected several types of information on public pages and profiles and ranked the top ten leaders in each of these categories. Burson-Marsteller used the term Followers for each time a page is liked and the term Like for each time a post is liked. Here are the definitions: • Followers – Number of connections. Because this number can be tracked on private pages as well as public ones, we also looked at personal profiles to determine our top ten lists. • Interactions – Reactions (including Likes on posts) + Comments + Shares • Effectiveness – Ratio of interactions to posts divided by the average number of Followers in 2016 to show the efficiency of overall social media strategy • Active – How often one posts The study also includes information about the performance of Fortune 500 business leaders on Facebook and the Facebook pages that are followed the most by business leaders. WHAT WORKS ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM? What does a successful business leader do on Facebook and Instagram? How should he or she act on the platforms? Is there a magic formula for creating a post that will drive the most followers, Likes on posts and interactions? In truth, there are no simple answers to these questions. However, Burson-Marsteller has found some general trends for leaders who have received significant engagement from their followers. Later in this study, there is information on the top
  3. 3. Friending in High Places | 3 ten accounts across many metrics on Facebook and Instagram, and one can see how people who made those lists closely resemble one or more of the online personas outlined below. The Family Guy/Gal A hallmark of social media is genuine, unfiltered communication. There are numerous ways to infuse a CEO’s engagement with authenticity, but one of the most effective ways is to talk about family. Like the television show by the same name, The Family Guy (or Gal, of course) uses their posts, videos and photos to share stories about their home lives and challenges, rewards and worries that anyone can relate to. The Family Guy/Gal tends to share interesting, humorous and poignant slices of their life online, aiming for a genuine online self-portrait. While some business leaders may be reluctant to post family pictures or give a glimpse into their private lives, there are benefits to showing personal values, interests, histories and passions such as sports, reading and music. For business leaders, a Family Guy/Gal persona provides an opportunity to show that they are real people. Personal posts can make business leaders more relatable, especially to younger professionals. This can not only boost their following online, but also help them connect more closely with employees. Taking a more personal approach also opens the door for business leaders to engage on many topics. Another reason the Family Guy/Gal online persona is successful is because the most- liked posts on Facebook often relate to family. In fact, the most-liked post on Facebook by any business leader in this study was a post in August 2016 by Bill Gates wishing his wife Melinda a happy birthday. This post attracted more than 400,000 Likes.
  4. 4. Friending in High Places | 4 For the Family Guy/Gal, it is important to be sincere. If business leaders want to give followers a true look at their lives, they should do the posts themselves. Owning your own posts – while a lot of work – gives a more genuine behind-the-scenes style. The Carrie Bradshaw Carrie Bradshaw, the fictional character from the hit novel and television show Sex and the City, was a writer in New York who published a book called Sex and the City based on her columns in the New York Observer. She took an autobiographical approach to writing about love and romance in New York, often providing personal accounts of her daily life. On Facebook and Instagram, this persona is expressed by people who relish self-expression and individuality. They often post about life and the world in their own words. This persona is similar to The Family Guy/Gal, but is less prone to post about family issues or their opinions about issues and the effects on the next generation. This persona can attract followers, just as Carrie Bradshaw’s column did, because followers feel they are getting a glimpse into a business leader’s life. For business leaders who want to post about corporate developments or initiatives, using a Bradshaw-like persona can create excitement for the outcome of new products or strategies, for example. If something goes wrong, a business leader’s followers feel that they understand – or at least have empathy for – why the initiative may have failed. One success story is Daymond John, the CEO of FUBU and one of the stars of the reality TV series Shark Tank. He is not afraid to engage in direct question-and-answer sessions with his fans. For many business leaders such as Beth Comstock from General Electric, this type of direct engagement with the world is still “an experiment” as she says in her first live broadcast. But it is an experiment that will eventually pay off. The Ashton Kutcher To stand out on Facebook, business leaders need to learn a new language, one that is more visual and more personal. Think of actor and investor Ashton Kutcher who is constantly documenting his life on social media. This persona posts updates in real time and enthusiastically uses tools such as photos, video and live broadcasting. Our study shows that all types of visual content are valuable. But videos posted on Facebook are shared more often than photos or text and photos do better than text alone. For instance: • Videos received an average of 278 shares compared to 139 shares for posts containing just a photo. However, posts with photos received more overall interactions (the total of likes, comments and shares) than video posts. • Videos also generated more love, surprise and laughter emoji reactions and more comments than other posts, with 143 average comments. That’s almost three times more than picture posts, which received an average of 51 comments.
  5. 5. Friending in High Places | 5 • Photos received an average of 1,538 interactions, while videos averaged 1,376 interactions. But both received more than twice as many interactions as simple status updates. • Status updates without visuals had an average of 598 interactions while links to other websites only generated 468 interactions per post. Nevertheless, when using video as a tool, it is important to keep them brief. If a video runs too long, there is a risk of losing people who get bored, and you won’t get your message across effectively. Among business leaders who have Instagram accounts, quite a few also post pictures to their Facebook pages. The vast majority of business leaders’ posts on Instagram are pictures. Video posts only account for eight percent of the 23,533 posts analyzed. In 2016, Instagram photo posts from business leaders averaged 961 interactions per post, while video posts averaged 916 interactions per post. However, videos attracted almost twice as many comments as posts with photos. They received 30 comments on average compared to only 17 for photos. Images can take many forms. Some business leaders such as businessman and TV personality Marc Cuban and Co-Founder of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington share pictures with inspirational quotes about leadership or historic quotes from other leaders. Fashion stylist and designer Rachel Zoe engages her followers on Facebook and Instagram by uploading fashion shots. PayPal CEO Dan Schulman regularly posts group selfies to engage his staff. No matter the form, expanding posts beyond text and using new tools such as live videos is a great way to boost interactions. Visual posts can also be a good way to cut across language barriers, which is especially important for business leaders whose companies touch multiple countries and people who speak different languages. The Hannah Horvath Hannah Horvath, protagonist from HBO’s television show Girls, is an aspiring writer who is not afraid to say whatever comes to mind. Her varied circle of friends and their mismatched interests along with her own penchant for jumping from one thing to the next means that each episode covers a lot of issues and feels very personal. On Facebook and Instagram, a Hannah Horvath persona takes a casual approach to social media, speaking his or her mind across a wide range of topics. This can be off-putting to some, but endearing to others. Interesting and even controversial posts can
  6. 6. Friending in High Places | 6 spur higher engagement and lively dialogue. However, while it may be tempting for someone to jump from one thing to the next, their audience often expects greater access to them and their thoughts. You shouldn’t start a debate and then leave the conversation. Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, is a great example of a Hannah Horvath personality. He nonchalantly shares posts across a variety of topics – from pictures of his family to videos of him engaging in sporting activities – and he does not shy away from asserting his political views. The Kramer Cosmo Kramer from the hit television series Seinfeld was a character no one could ignore – always hanging around when not invited and getting in people’s faces with his attention-grabbing outbursts. On Facebook, this persona is used by people who like to create devotion among their followers (loyal consumers in the case of business leaders) by stoking their passions and beliefs. They are unafraid to take unpopular – though often principled – positions to create engagement through lively debates. Though similar to The Hannah Horvath persona, The Kramer is clearly looking to disrupt the status quo vs. nonchalantly sharing opinions. Donald Trump’s use of social media during the U.S. presidential election campaign in 2016 is a perfect example of this kind of behavior. CEO of T-Mobile John Legere is another: He speaks his mind on Facebook, freely posting criticisms about his competitors and using casual language to stir conversation.
  7. 7. Friending in High Places | 7 SURVEY OF TOP BUSINESS LEADERS ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM The Most-Followed Business Leaders on Facebook The ten most-followed business leaders on Facebook have more than half a million followers each - but one stands well above the others. Mark Zuckerberg Not surprisingly, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the most-followed business leader on Facebook, with 85 million followers on his public profile. Despite only having a public profile rather than a Facebook page, Zuckerberg is an executive role model to follow. He and his communication team skillfully mix professional updates and personal posts to drive significant engagement on the network. His posts often make headlines in traditional media outlets. He can be seen speaking to world leaders and taking selfies with presidents. But he also will open the doors to his home, barbequing live on Facebook and discussing his favorite cooker. He will promote the latest virtual reality goggles at the Oculus Developer Conference, while posting a selfie. Occasionally he shares family pictures with his wife Priscilla Chan, their daughter Max and their dog Beast. These pictures tend to get more Likes compared to his other posts.
  8. 8. Friending in High Places | 8 His corporate announcement on February 24, 2016 about the introduction of Reactions – the new Like button that has emojis to express love, laughter, surprise, sadness and anger – received 1.7 million reactions, 51,000 comments and was shared 150,000 times. His post with the second-most interactions had more than one million interactions. It was the first live Q&A session broadcast from Facebook headquarters and featured comedian Jerry Seinfeld. It was watched ten million times. His video with the most interactions, with 30 million views, is a video with his wife and daughter wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year in Chinese with English subtitles. Bill Gates Although Bill Gates is not an acting CEO any more, he remains a global business leader and tops the Facebook rankings for public pages with 18,803,605 followers and more than eight million interactions on his posts in 2016. Bill Gates posts regularly to Facebook – almost one post per day – often sharing pictures and links to Gates Notes, a blog where he shares his thoughts and news stories about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates consistently posts in the first person and his most-shared posts are about his wife, family and friends. Gates also posts videos that are professionally produced and begin with a four- second Gates Notes logo. Jessica Alba Jessica Alba, co-Founder of The Honest Company that sells non-toxic household products, is the third most-followed business leader on Facebook with 5.1 million followers. The former actress and model uses Facebook to share her posts from Instagram where she tops those rankings with 9.8 million followers (see Instagram section below). Her most-liked post in 2016, with 18,996 Likes, was on Election Day in the U.S. when she commented “your voice matters #Vote.”
  9. 9. Friending in High Places | 9 Sir Richard Branson Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, is the fourth most-followed business leader with 2.8 million followers on his Facebook page. In 2016, he was also the most-active business leader in terms of number of posts and second in terms of total interactions. Branson has six times fewer followers than Bill Gates, but he is seven times more prolific with an average of five posts per day. Branson does not shy away from taking a political stance. In particular, he has commented against both Brexit, the vote in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. The 30-second video posted by Branson explaining "Why the UK should remain in the EU" is by far the most-watched video posted by any business leader, with 8.18 million views. The video also received slightly more Angry emoji reactions than Love hearts from his fans, reflecting the division of British voters. His subsequent condemnation of the vote was his second post with the most interactions, with 47,000 including 4,200 Sad emoji reactions. Branson also shares personal moments including pictures of his blood-stained face after a cycling accident in August 2016. It received 22,000 Wow emoji reactions and made international headlines. Among his posts with the most interactions are pictures to celebrate his wife’s birthday, their 40th wedding anniversary and his 90-year-old mother on Mothers’ Day and his grandchildren. One of his most amazing videos is the 360° video he posted while kite surfing around Necker Island in the Caribbean. Sheryl Sandberg The defining feature of Sheryl Sandberg's Facebook profile is her regular Facebook Live broadcasts. The Facebook COO often interviews influential leaders of the Lean In community, a movement based on her book that encourages women to pursue their ambitions. Her commencement address at the University of California- Berkeley when she talked about resilience after her husband’s death is one of the most-viewed Facebook Live broadcasts on her profile. She also posts occasional pictures of visitors to Facebook headquarters such as actress Selena Gomez and Sandberg’s parents, as well as tributes to her late husband Dave Goldberg.
  10. 10. Friending in High Places | 10 Manny Villar Filipino billionaire businessman Manny Villar is the sixth most-followed business leader with 1.6 million followers. The former President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines posts irregularly, with only 63 posts in 2016. His posts with the most interactions include photos of his wife, children and grandchildren. Arianna Huffington Media mogul Arianna Huffington is the seventh most- followed business leader on Facebook with 1.3 million followers. She is also among the ten most-active business leaders, sharing an average of two posts per day, often articles and videos from The Huffington Post. She also ranks in the top ten most-followed and most-active business leaders on Instagram with more than 600,000 interactions in 2016. When she stepped down from her post as editor-in-chief to launch her new company, Thrive Global in August 2016, she posted the internal memo on her public Facebook page. The self-proclaimed ‘flat shoe advocate and sleep evangelist’ also has conducted occasional live interview sessions on her Facebook page, and she regularly shares quotes from famous people on the anniversaries of their death. One of her pictures with the most interactions is a faded photograph of her with her mother that she posted on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2016. Mark Cuban Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, only posted 58 times in 2016, but he has become the eighth most- followed business leader. Cuban also is among the top ten with more than half a million interactions. He often shares pictures with inspirational quotes and occasionally posts Facebook Live broadcasts. Cuban regularly deletes his Facebook posts because, as he explained in a video: “The biggest mistake that people make in social media is that they let their posts live forever.”
  11. 11. Friending in High Places | 11 Rachel Zoe American fashion designer and businesswoman Rachel Zoe has one million followers and shares an average of five posts per day, including fashion shots as well as links and videos from The Zoe Report, her lifestyle and fashion blog. She posts Facebook Live videos from modeling catwalks and can be seen talking about fashion and pop culture dressed only in her bathrobe in a live segment for The Zoe Report the morning after the Golden Globe Awards ceremony. Her 1,789 posts in 2016 received 800,000 interactions. However, it was the videos and photos of her two children that gained the most engagement. Zoe also ranks second among business leaders on Instagram. Andres Moreno Andres Moreno, the 34-year-old CEO of online language school Open English and a start-up mentor, posts exclusively in Spanish to promote his business by sharing pictures from his lectures. Moreno's Facebook URL is aptly called @TalkToAndres, and he consistently interacts with followers, liking and replying to comments and questions. His page has 944,000 followers. The Venezuelan businessman is considered a role model for people who want to start companies in Latin America. Moreno also conducts regular Facebook Live videos that have generated significant interaction.
  12. 12. Friending in High Places | 12 Business Leaders with the Most Interactions on Facebook The business leaders with the highest number of followers also tend to rank high in interactions on their posts. Bill Gates tops the list with more than eight million interactions (an average of 29,348 interactions per post) on his 276 posts in 2016. He is ahead of Richard Branson, who has 5.9 million interactions on his 2,076 posts and Mike Bloomberg, who has 2.3 million on his 169 posts in 2016. In terms of interaction rates (the sum of all interactions divided by the number of posts and the average number of followers), Mike Bloomberg scores a formidable 3.61 percent, ahead of T-Mobile’s John Legere with 3.04 percent, former Google executive Kai-Fu Lee with 1.94 percent and AirAsia’s Tony Fernandes with 1.51 percent. For all others, the interaction rate is below one percent. The Facebook post that received the highest number of interactions in 2016 was posted by Bill Gates wishing “Happy birthday" to his wife Melinda, which clocked 418,827 Likes and 22,171 Love emoji reactions. The post that gathered the most shares is a quote card from Mark Cuban: “Rich people stay rich by living like they're broke. Broke people stay broke by living like they're rich” with 137,587 shares. The post that received the most comments was shared by CEO of Razer Min-Liang Tan. It encouraged his fans to share and comment in order to win a special Razer Chroma mug.
  13. 13. Friending in High Places | 13 Mike Bloomberg Former New York Mayor and media magnate Mike Bloomberg uses his Facebook page mainly to promote his philanthropic engagements, from his fight to reduce tobacco use and his role as WHO Global Ambassador for non-communicable diseases to his work as President of the Board of the C40 Cities climate network group. A photo of that group is his Facebook cover picture. Bloomberg received 600,000 likes on his posts in 2016. But he uses the page exclusively to share corporate news and has not shared any personal pictures. Kai-Fu Lee Kai-Fu Lee, a former Microsoft and Google executive and venture capitalist, is a prominent online figure in China, and he comes fourth in terms of interactions on his page, with a respectable interaction rate of almost two percent in 2016. His Facebook page doubled in size, adding 150,000 followers in 2016. His 497 posts in 2016 are exclusively in Chinese, and he often shares viral videos and pictures from other Chinese platforms such as WeChat and Weibo. He posted the picture to the right of his dinner with the caption: “My daughter made dumplings.”
  14. 14. Friending in High Places | 14 Daymond John Daymond John, the CEO of the clothing and hip-hop apparel company FUBU, is best known for his appearances on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank. In 2016, he had 1.9 million interactions on his 1,199 posts placing him in fifth position in terms of interactions and fourth in terms of activity. He is also among the most-followed and most-active business leaders on Instagram. He has posted more than 200 Facebook videos, often going live from his mobile device chatting with his fans, replying to their comments and thanking them for ordering his latest book #PowerOfBroke. One of his videos with the most interactions was shot while driving in a car when former Vice President Joe Biden made a furtive and funny cameo appearance. Rolf Sorg The Facebook page of businessman Rolf Sorg has become the most-followed Facebook page of his company PM International. It has more than 400,000 followers. The German-born CEO has included his company name in his Facebook name and has become his own salesman of his direct marketing company, which sells food supplements and cosmetics. He shares inspirational quotes, promotional product posts and motivational videos for a healthier lifestyle. With close to 900,000 interactions on his page in 2016, he is among the most-interactive business leaders on Facebook. Tony Fernandes Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia, is probably one of the most-engaging business leaders on Facebook, often shooting Facebook Live videos in which he replies to comments from his viewers. These videos are often rough and unedited, but they offer insight into the life of the CEO of Asia's largest low-cost airline and have driven his interaction rate to 1.51 percent. Fernandes posted 238 times in 2016, including 62 Facebook videos. These live videos are often shot by the CEO himself on his mobile phone – from award ceremonies, to being on the tarmac introducing the latest AirAsia Airbus plane, or at an investor roadshow in the U.S., pitching “the most-undervalued airline stock.” His team also has produced a mannequin challenge video
  15. 15. Friending in High Places | 15 including the entire management team in their new offices where the CEO is spoon fed by an air hostess. John Legere John Legere is credited with having turned T-Mobile USA around and making it the fastest-growing wireless carrier in the U.S. This is in large part because of his mastery of social media. The self-proclaimed “magenta T-shirt wearing consumer advocate” is an executive rock star who has perfected the art of live videos. A third of his 634 posts in 2016 are videos including T- Mobile ads, but also video statements in which he often attacks his competitors head on. In his spare time, he also hosts the live #SlowCookerSunday show on his Facebook page. Legere recently moonlighted as a Lyft taxi driver, chatting with customers about their mobile carrier before unveiling that he is actually the CEO of T-Mobile USA.
  16. 16. Friending in High Places | 16 Most-Effective Business Leaders on Facebook Business leaders with the highest number of followers are not necessarily those with the best interaction rates. On the contrary, business leaders who have a relatively small fan base or those who post only occasionally tend to enjoy the highest interaction rates. Six business leaders have seen double-digit interaction rates on their Facebook pages in 2016, which is exceptional. The top ten business leaders with the best interaction rates have one thing in common: They have posted fewer than 90 posts in 2016, and when they post, their publications make an impact. Jeffrey Hedberg Jeffrey Hedberg, CEO of Mobilink, Pakistan’s top 3G network, started his Facebook journey in late February 2016 when Mobilink became the world’s first telecom company to launch Facebook Workplace, where staff can interact privately in the same way they do on Facebook. Hedberg enjoys the highest engagement rate of more than 32 percent thanks to two of his 25 posts which have been Liked more than 60,000 and 50,000 times respectively.
  17. 17. Friending in High Places | 17 Jean Pascal Tricoire Jean Pascal Tricoire, Schneider Electric’s CEO, ranks second in the most-effective business leaders ranking. Tricoire has an interaction rate of 26 percent, mainly because he only posted 23 times in 2016. His posts focus on how innovative Schneider Electric is, often using the hashtag #InnovationAtEveryLevel. He also uses the platform as an opportunity to discuss things that he deems important to both himself and the company, for example promoting gender equality in every decision made at Schneider Electric. Stephanie Newby CEO of social media analytics company Crimson Hexagon, Stephanie Newby comes in third place in the most-effective business leaders ranking. She posted 58 posts during the course of 2016 and has an interaction rate of nearly 15 percent. Newby discusses everything tech – from an analysis of the #MannequinChallenge on social media, to big data. She also touched on the U.S. election last year and hot topics such as gender diversity.
  18. 18. Friending in High Places | 18 Fortune Listed Business Leaders on Facebook Twenty-six CEOs from companies listed on the Fortune 500 and Global 500 lists have public Facebook pages. Despite the economic power and influence of their corporations, the business leaders have a relatively small number of followers because most of them are comparatively new to the platform. Crédit Agricole’s Philippe Brassac, Hilton’s Chris Nassetta, Manulife’s Donald Guloien, Marriott’s Arne Sorenson, PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi and Schneider Electric’s Jean- Pascal Tricoire are among the handful of CEOs who joined Facebook in 2016, and who are still finding their voices. Doug McMillon Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon joined in May 2016 with a personal video message that he recorded himself on his desktop computer. Since joining the platform, McMillon has shared 90 posts, gaining more than 180,000 interactions and more than 57,000 followers. His page is engaging because he writes in the first person and puts his employees first, sharing pictures of staff around the country. His most-viewed post is a "special message for our associates all over the world” which was broadcast live on Facebook from Wal-Mart’s shareholder meeting and has been watched 1.2 million times.
  19. 19. Friending in High Places | 19 Meg Whitman Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, only shared 31 posts in 2016. Her endorsement of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign received the most interactions, and she boasts 230,000 followers. Her tribute to her mother for the #LeanInTogether campaign and a post with pictures of HP employees on “Happy Employee Appreciation Day” are two of her posts with the most interactions. Whitman also revealed a more playful side to her personality when she participated in the #CallYourShot charity campaign to end malaria and challenged CISCO’s John Chambers to do the same. John Chambers John Chambers, Cisco’s Executive Chairman, took up the #CallYourShot challenge and was filmed dunking a basketball in his office. Chambers only published 26 posts in 2016, mainly pictures of his speeches and his travels. His post with the most interactions shows him rooting for Brazil at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Dan Schulman Dan Schulman uses his Facebook cover to show that he can take a group selfie to engage his audience. The PayPal CEO shared pictures of his interviews as well as stories of life at the company. A picture of his staff at the company’s Halloween party has become his post with the most interactions.
  20. 20. Friending in High Places | 20 Jorge Paulo Lemann Brazilian-Swiss investor Jorge Paulo Lemann, known for his ownership of Anheuser-Busch Inbev, the world's largest brewer, shares his leadership wisdom in quote cards on his Facebook page. His Portuguese one-line statements receive a lot of likes including: “Good people attract good people” and "Those who don't take risk, don't do anything". However, there is no personal interaction on his page. Beth Comstock GE’s Vice Chair Beth Comstock often conducts Facebook Live broadcasts, interviewing authors and other business leaders. The video with the most engagement is a half- hour Q&A Facebook Live session talking directly to her followers about change and how to find work/life balance. Her Open Office Hours broadcast has been watched 235,000 times, and she announced that she would do more of these live sessions in the future. On a more personal side, she also shared pictures and a Boomerang video of her attendance at an AC/DC concert. Mary Barra Mary Barra, CEO of GM, uses her Facebook page to promote General Motors and a picture of two GM cars are featured as her Facebook cover photo. Barra often shares links to blog posts on her LinkedIn Influencer profile. However, her post with the most interactions is a picture of herself with her late mother in the kitchen posted on Mother’s Day. These behind-the-scenes personal snapshots seem to work well on Facebook pages as they show business leaders’ more personal side.
  21. 21. Friending in High Places | 21 Most-Active Business Leaders on Facebook Richard Branson, Mashable’s Pete Cashmore and Rachel Zoe were the three most-active business leaders on Facebook in 2016 with five posts per day. They were ahead of Daymond John, French entrepreneur Loic LeMeur and social entrepreneur Leila Janah, each with more than 1,000 posts in 2016. The average number of posts for business leaders’ pages in 2016 was 300 – less than one post per day. Pete Cashmore Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable, ranks second in the most-active business leaders ranking, posting on average five posts a day. The prolific Facebook user mainly shares tech, culture and entertainment stories from Mashable on his Facebook profile – covering everything from the new iPhone to Game of Thrones and even how a new AI tech could erase the feeling of fear. Bill George Former CEO of Medtronic Bill George ranks seventh in the most- active in the business leaders ranking. In 2016, he posted an average of nearly three posts per day, with a total of 988 posts for the whole year. He mainly posts about mindfulness and leadership and often shares a personal take on the topics, for example sharing this favorite list of leadership books.
  22. 22. Friending in High Places | 22 Pages Most- Followed by Business Leaders Following other Facebook pages is essentially an act of courtesy. While a follow does not allow owners of these pages to message each other privately, it does make it easier to follow the business leader because his or her posts will appear in the follower’s newsfeed. The New York Times is the most- followed media organization ahead of The Economist, National Geographic, Entrepreneur Magazine and Harvard Business Review. This does not mean that business leaders only get their news from these publications on Facebook, but it is a clear indication of their reading preferences. Conference organizers TED and the World Economic Forum are also in the top five. Melinda Gates is the most-followed person, slightly ahead of former President Barack Obama. Many business leaders also follow the Influencers on Facebook page set up by the platform to support business influencers.
  23. 23. Friending in High Places | 23 BUSINESS LEADERS ON INSTAGRAM The 224 Instagram accounts of business leaders analyzed in this study had a combined total following of 19,147,030 and an average interaction rate of five percent. Most-Followed Business Leaders on Instagram Business leaders who have a high number of followers on Facebook also tend to have a lot of followers on Instagram and often share their Instagram photos on their Facebook pages. Others will use Instagram as their personal-public photo album, sharing shots from their families and holidays. Actress, model and entrepreneur Jessica Alba tops the ranking of the most-followed business leaders on Instagram. Fashion designer Rachel Zoe is the second most-followed ahead of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Instagram’s Kevin Systrom and Virgin’s Richard Branson, who have more than one million followers each and skillfully mix personal and professional posts on the platform.
  24. 24. Friending in High Places | 24 Jessica Alba Jessica Alba is the most-followed business leader on Instagram with 9.8 million followers, and her 527 posts have garnered 30 million Likes and 176,160 comments. Not surprisingly, her most-liked posts are pictures of the model herself. Her post with the most Likes is a selfie with her husband wearing Christmas pajamas that has attracted 274,000 Likes. The post that had the most comments of any business leader on Instagram in 2016 is a selfie by Alba with a reflection of a man’s silhouette on the shower door behind her: “I have no idea what that is. Freaky”, she wrote in the caption, letting her followers do the guessing. Rachel Zoe Fashionista Rachel Zoe is the second most-followed business leader on Instagram with 2.4 million followers. She shares red carpets moments and fashion shots from catwalks around the world, interspersed with the occasional picture and video of her two children or selfies with her husband. Zoe posts an average of three times per day, and her 1,082 posts in 2016 received an average of 10,000 Likes.
  25. 25. Friending in High Places | 25 Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the third most-followed business leader on Instagram. With 1.4 million followers, he has overtaken his colleague, Kevin Systrom, Founder and CEO of Instagram. Both men only post intermittently with 37 posts for Zuckerberg and 85 posts for Systrom in 2016. Zuckerberg’s use of Instagram is a good example for any business leader to follow. When he posts a picture, it tends to go viral with an average of 48,000 likes per picture. While he initially shared mainly pictures of his dog Beast, he now uses Instagram to share behind-the-scenes snapshots from his office and special events. His most-liked post in 2016 is a picture of him and Selena Gomez visiting Facebook headquarters. But Zuckerberg also shares the occasional family picture, and his pictures of the family dressed up for Halloween, or with his one-year-old daughter Max, are among the most-liked pictures on his Instagram stream and generally make media headlines. Kevin Systrom Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom is in fourth position with 1.3 million followers on the platform. He skillfully mixes corporate milestones with personal snapshots. When he meets world leaders, they end up on his Instagram feed. Two pictures of his meeting with Pope Francis starting his Instagram account in February 2016 have become his posts with the most interactions. Systrom is an avid cyclist and often posts pictures from his rides up peaks or enjoying the views from the top. Even his dog @Dolly has her own Instagram account.
  26. 26. Friending in High Places | 26 Sir Richard Branson Sir Richard Branson, the Founder of Virgin Group, is the fifth most-followed business leader on Instagram, sharing occasional inspirational and motivational quote cards as well as celebrating corporate highlights. His posts with the most interactions give a glimpse into his life, whether it is on the Underground in London or kite surfing at his home on Neckar Island in the Caribbean. One of his most memorable posts was a photo catching a Virgin Australia staff member sleeping. Mark Cuban Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, seems to have plain fun on Instagram, from caroling before Christmas to working out or celebrating a Mavericks win. He does not take himself too seriously and often shares happy moments from his life including selfies and videos with his children.
  27. 27. Friending in High Places | 27 Sheryl Sandberg The Facebook COO has 200,000 followers on Instagram, and she uses the platform professionally to promote female empowerment and her non-profit organization Among her most-liked posts are pictures of celebrity visitors to Facebook headquarters, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the first man to shoot a selfie in space (and the second man to walk on the moon), actress Selena Gomez (the most-followed person on Instagram as a non- business person) and a picture with primatologist Jane Goddall. Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington, Founder of The Huffington Post, often shares inspiring quotes from famous people in quote cards on her Instagram feed. The Greek-born immigrant also made a powerful statement in June 2016 wearing a T-shirt with the inscription “I am an immigrant” which was liked more than 4,000 times.
  28. 28. Friending in High Places | 28 Kevin O'Leary The Canadian businessman, Kevin O'Leary, is also a television star, and he often shares pictures from the set of Shark Tank, ABC's reality TV show. His post with the most interactions on Instagram is a video of on how to use a sabre to open a bottle of champagne. Among his other shots that receive significant itneractions are pictures of his family and having a beer with his father in Switzerland. The 62-year-old, who also has a large following on Facebook, has announced his intention to run for leadership of the Canadian conservative party.
  29. 29. Friending in High Places | 29 Business Leaders with the Most Interactions on Instagram The 224 business leaders’ Instagram accounts analyzed in this study had a combined total of 55 million interactions in 2016. Actress Jessica Alba generated more than half of that total, with more than 30 million interactions on her 527 posts in 2016. Rachel Zoe is second with 11 million interactions, far ahead of Richard Branson with 3.5 million interactions. Among the business leaders on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg enjoyed the best interaction rate of more than seven percent, with the overall average being five percent, mainly driven by business leaders who post only occasionally on the platform. The most-liked Instagram photo posted by a business leader in 2016 is a picture of Zuckerberg with actress Selena Gomez visiting Facebook headquarters, which gained 194,454 likes and 3,788 comments. The picture which received the most comments is a picture posted by Kevin Systrom, the Founder and CEO of Instagram, of his sister. Zuckerberg also posted the Instagram video with the most interactions, a video challenging Brazilian footballer Neymar to the Secret Soccer Emoji Game on Facebook Messenger. It received 54,000 likes and comments.
  30. 30. Friending in High Places | 30 Bobbi Brown Makeup artist and Founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics clearly warns her audience that she deletes rude comments. With 189,000 followers, she is the third most-active business leader on Instagram and sixth most-interactive business leader on Instagram. Her personal @JustBobbiBrown account posts mainly Bobbi Brown products, motivational quotes and snippets from her travels. Robert Herjavec The Founder of Herjavec Group and a shark on ABC's Shark Tank ranks tenth for interactions on Instagram, with an interaction rate of 1.37 percent. He shares a combination of personal, motivational and promotional images. One of his most-liked posts was a picture from his wedding, which was Liked almost 24,000 times.
  31. 31. Friending in High Places | 31 Most-Active Business Leaders on Instagram Business leaders shared 21,558 photos and 1,975 videos on Instagram in 2016 at an average of 134 posts per account. Rachel Zoe is by far the most prolific with more than 1,000 posts in 2016, averaging almost three posts per day. Daymond John of FUBU, CEO of Bobby Brown Cosmetics Bobby Brown, Loic LeMeur, the Founder of and social entrepreneur Leila Janah are also very active, with more than two posts per day. Loic LeMeur French serial entrepreneur and Founder of LeWeb conference, Loic LeMeur has invested in 50+ start-ups and has been a regular speaker at the World Economic Forum since 2002. He is the fourth most-interactive business leader on Instagram, sharing an average of more than two posts per day in 2016. He shares images of new technology like Snap Spectacles and fine dining he regularly enjoys with his partner. Among his posts with a large number of interactions is an image of him meeting with the Pope.
  32. 32. Friending in High Places | 32 Leila Janah Janah is the Founder and CEO of Samasource, Co-Founder and CEO of LXMI and an award- winning social entrepreneur. Her work focuses on bringing living-wage jobs to poor women and youth to reduce poverty and build better communities. She also shared an image of her meeting with the Pope in 2016, using the opportunity to reflect on her year and “how to find goodness in a chaotic world”. Other posts with a large number of interactions include travel shots and motivational messages. She was the fifth most-active business leader on Instagram in 2016, sharing an average of two posts per day.
  33. 33. Friending in High Places | 33 Business Leaders Follower Growth on Instagram The use of Instagram by professionals is catching up to similar growth trends of Facebook. Up-and-coming CEOs with the largest increases in follower count in 2016 represent a more diverse set of industries – including Bloomberg and Airbnb as well as venture capitalists like Andreeson Horowitz. Even so, several of the individuals with the largest followings made huge progress just in 2016. Mark Zuckerberg had the biggest increase in followers on his Instagram account in 2016, with a growth rate of 565 percent, adding 1.2 million new followers. Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Labs, is second and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has seen the third strongest growth, adding 125,000 new followers in 2016. Eugene Kaspersky Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky’s followers on Instagram grew by 10,906 in 2016, which is an increase of 236 percent. Kaspersky posts Instagram pictures from his trips around the world – from Greenland to China. He also posts pictures of people he meets along the way or takes selfies.
  34. 34. Friending in High Places | 34 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ENGAGING ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM As engagement becomes the new measure of social media success today, driving it has become the objective of social media strategies. Based on this research, Burson-Marsteller has developed some tips for communicators and business leaders. Mix It Up – This report describes some successful personas on Facebook and Instagram. While there are leaders who are successful at managing these personas, it is not necessary to pick just one and stick to it. Business leaders should feel free to pull from multiple styles and take tips from many of their peers online. Respond – To drive engagement, one needs to engage. Audiences expect a personal connection to the people they follow, so it is important to respond to comments and messages. Show-Don’t Tell – Videos and photographs receive more interaction than other types of posts, so it is important to share visual posts with followers. Remember: Attention spans are short. It is important to share only as much in a video as is needed to get the message across. Be Yourself – Providing a behind-the-scenes look at a business leader’s company or personal life can help followers and potential customers feel like they know a business leader and their business better. While some executives may feel uncomfortable opening up completely, posts about family and friends are a good way to connect. Keep At It – Whether a business leader posts himself or herself or has a team to help with posting content, it is important to post regularly. If a leader posts consistently three times a day and then drops off, their followers may become bored and stop following them. Facebook and Instagram are platforms for engagement and conversation, so followers expect this.
  35. 35. Friending in High Places | 35
  • KazukiEitaki

    Mar. 10, 2017
  • SebastianGaray3

    Feb. 24, 2017

Executive engagement on social media has become an integral part of the corporate communication mix, and Facebook and Instagram are making their way into executive floors and boardrooms of many global companies. For the last six years, Burson-Marsteller has studied how heads of state, governments and international organizations use social media channels. For the last two years, it has produced reports specifically about world leaders’ use of Facebook. This year, in addition to studying world leaders, Burson-Marsteller conducted this study of business leaders to see how they connect with their audiences on Facebook and Instagram.


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