Who Really Wields Social Authority In The C-Suite?

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williamwickeyBy: William Wickey of LeadGenius

Five years ago it was almost unthinkable, but times change.

High profile CEOs like Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch, Jeff Weiner, Marc Benioff, and Marissa Mayer have blazed a trail and raised the bar when it comes to corporate leadership maintaining a strong presence on social media, particularly on Twitter.

If you’re not asking yourself, “should my CEO be on Twitter?” you should. There’s not a right or wrong answer, but you ought to be weighing the matter.

Consider these findings from BRANDfog’s most recent annual “CEO Social Media Survey:”

  • 83% of US respondents believe that CEO participation in social media can build better connections with customers, employees, and investors.
  • 82% of US respondents believe that executive use of social media raises brand awareness.
  • 71% of US respondents agree that a company whose CEO uses social media is more trustworthy.

Harvard Business School professor and author of Authentic Leadership, Bill George, says, “people want CEOs who are real. They want to know what you think.” Speaking about Twitter, George adds, “Can you think of a more cost-effective way of getting to your customers and employees?”

It’s not right for every company, but there is a strong case to be made in-favor of social engagement. For better or for worse, having the CEO assume an active on social media is becoming an essential part of more and more brands’ business strategy. Fear, lack of social media training, and being too busy are no longer valid excuses.

But what about the rest of the C-Suite? How far do their voices carry? More importantly, who gets bragging rights at the next board meeting?

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An analysis of over 100,000 Twitter profiles using Followerwonk reveals that, while there are a larger number of CEOs on Twitter than any other business leadership position, their average social authority does not necessarily trump the other positions in the C-Suite.

What is Social Authority?

Social Authority is a 1 to 100 point scale developed by Moz to identify users who create and surface truly effective content on Twitter. Social Authority correlates with other influence metrics such as Klout but weights engagement heavier than pure reach. In other words, Social Authority takes into account whether or not anyone is listening.

Social Authority is based on 3 components:

  1. The retweet rate of a few hundred of the measured user’s last non-@mention tweets
  2. A time decay to favor recent activity versus ancient history
  3. Other data for each user (such as follower count, friend count, and so on) that are optimized via a regression model trained to retweet rate

A more in-depth look at the metrics behind calculating Social Authority can be found on Moz’s blog.

Selling to The C-Suite

From a sales perspective, increased C-Suite activity on Twitter is a blessing and a curse.

If you’re selling to the C-suite, you now have access to a treasure trove of information about your ideal customers – not just your ideal customer profile, but an unprecedented window into the mind of your best potential buyers on an individual level.

Brand Strategist Valeria Maltoni maintains a list of over 350 top CEOs on Twitter. Plenty of lists of top CMOs, CIOs, and CFOs are floating around out there as well. Scattered throughout this data are invaluable 140-character clues into these decision makes’ values, pain points, and priorities.

It’s easier than identify decision makers in the C-Suite but increasingly difficult to locate accurate contact information and supply sales reps with actionable insights. There is simply too much data to comb through by hand. Even with a well-oiled inside sales team, generating data-rich leads through social media can be an unacceptable drain on on sales teams’ time.

Gathering subjective buyer insights from a data source like Twitter can be the fuel that powers your sales engine or the sand that grinds it to a halt. If you know what you’re looking for, and have the right tools, it’s a good time to be selling.

About LeadGenius

leadgenius_logoLeadGenius s a fully managed, customizable B2B lead generation and data enrichment service. LeadGenius uses a real human workforce and proprietary search technology to supply sales and marketing teams with accurate, data-rich leads. Schedule a free lead calibration with LeadGenius here.

Published on April 21, 2015
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