Weber Shandwick's latest study revealed that 81% of CEOs among the world's top 50 companies engage socially, but chief executives in the Asia-Pacific region lag behind their counterparts.
The study also found that many were less active in 2012 than they were in 2010.
The research was conducted in mid-2012, studying the activities of CEOs from the top 50 companies listed in this year's Fortune global 500 rankings. Fifteen CEOs were US-based, 21 are European; 11 are in the Asia-Pacific region, and three are in Latin America.
It audited how these CEOs are leveraging opportunities to engage external audiences through sites including social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and regional platforms), external-facing blogs, company YouTube channels, company homepages or “about us” pages, and company website careers pages.
The findings show the sociability of these CEOs has almost doubled from 36% to 66% in the past two years. This is mainly because of CEOs' heightened visibility on their companies' websites (32% to 50%) and their increased video presence (18% to 40%).
However, only 18% participate on social networks. The research shows a drop in Twitter presence over the past few years among this elite CEO set. Facebook is the most commonly used social network by CEOs in 2012, with 10% having an account. Few are on Google+.
It also found that no CEOs have a Pinterest profile or presence on regional networks, such as Weibo in China and me2day in Korea. None have company-affiliated blogs either.
The level of sociability varies around the world. CEOs in APAC were less social in 2012 than they were in 2010 and are also less social than those in the US and Europe.
All the executives nearly equally engage consumers through their corporate websites, but when it comes to social media, APAC CEOs are much less likely to participate, compared with their regional peers. No CEOs in the study from either APAC or Latin America have social network accounts.
The findings also show CEOs of the world's most reputable companies consistently demonstrate greater online engagement than peers at less reputable companies. Eight in 10 CEOs from Fortune magazine's “World's Most Admired Companies” engage through company websites or in social media, compared to 50% of those from less reputable or “contender” companies worldwide.
One issue pointed out in the study is the abundance of fake social network accounts, which contained inaccurate or false information about CEOs or companies, and in some cases, multiple accounts all claiming to be the same CEO.
Last year, Weber found that 66% of consumers' perceptions of CEOs affect their opinions of companies and the products they sell. Due to the increasingly important role of social media and other online channels, the study suggests CEOs can take greater charge of their communications, both online and offline.
This article originally appeared on the website of Campaign Asia-Pacific, the sister publication of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.