84% Say Company Leaders on Social Media Provide A Competitive Edge

Does having a company leader on social media give that organization a competitive edge? A recent survey by Humanize looks at social media and leadership in organizations – in particular, how company leaders are leveraging social media for organizational results.

Out of the 505 respondents (who skewed toward “more advanced” social media users), nearly two-thirds of the respondents (64%) reported that their leaders were involved in social media.

When asked specific questions about social media and leadership, respondents revealed that:

  • 84% agree that leadership involvement in social media gives their company a competitive edge
  • 84% agree that communicating core values via social media is integral to leadership (46% strongly agree)
  • only 4% think that a leaderʼs social media involvement should be limited to crisis situations

Leadership on Social Media via Humanize study

Respondents were also asked how company leaders are performing on social media. Nearly half (44%) of respondents were concerned about the lack of involvement by leaders in social media; 30% were not concerned, and 20% were neutral.  As the report notes, it’s a “red flag” when 84% believe leadership involvement in social media creates a competitive edge, but 44% are concerned by leadership’s lack of involvement in social media.

The same question was asked specifically to the 64% of respondents who indicated their leaders are already involved in social media — as it turns out, 29% of these respondents were still concerned that their leaders’ involvement in social media wasn’t enough.

There were also a few interesting points from the survey involving non-leadership use of social media: just under half (48%) said that any employee can speak for the organization online, and 40% said their company offers training for staff on how to use social media.  Given that most respondents believe having company leaders on social media provides an edge, perhaps social media training should be mandatory for company leaders at a certain level?

Are the leaders in your company engaging with social media — and if so, do you see the results?  According to the study, results indicate an expectation that companies will “innovate their current management practices to better tap into the power of social media.”

The Humanize survey took place in September 2012, when 505 individuals completed a 13-question survey about social media and leadership. The survey was “completed mostly by individuals who work in organizations that are actively using social tools.”