Does your boss really need to be on every social media platform?

Short answer: no. LinkedIn and Twitter are the go-to social media platforms for business executives.

NEW YORK: Social media is seemingly inescapable, but does your boss really need to have a professional TikTok account?

Not so much, says a study by executive reputation company Qnary, whose respondents ranged from managers to the C-suite and founders.

Most executives spend their digital lives on LinkedIn and Twitter, and both platforms are tailored to their professional needs.

Qnary CEO Ray Carbonell said it’s "still too early" to say if executives should log on to TikTok and other platforms for personal use, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

"Whatever platforms executives use in [their] personal lives, they have to be careful and understand who their audience is," Carbonell said. "They have to be conscious of what is personal and private."

More than half (55%) of business executives actively use LinkedIn, while 29% use Twitter in a professional capacity. Facebook gets a goose egg: Zero percent of executives use the social juggernaut for professional purposes only. However, 20% use it for professional as well as personal reasons. Fewer than 15% of respondents view the Instagram posts or stories of business executives.

A company’s reputation can be hurt on social media, but the third edition of the annual study, the Changing Face of Executive Reputation, found that the inverse is also true: Effective talent branding on social media can benefit a company.

Almost nine out of 10 executives use social media to keep abreast of industry news, according to the report. Seventy-seven percent like to network on social media; 62% are on platforms to stay competitive; and another 49% use it to further their careers. 

Thought leadership requires effort on behalf of executives, Carbonell said, requiring them to be authentic and consistent. Sharing content that has a unique point of view that inspires trust and relates to an audience is paramount, according to the study. 

LinkedIn is king in terms of usage rates. Only 4% said that they don’t use the platform, and more than 30% use it to generate sales leads. The study also found that LinkedIn is the most popular way by which executives research or review colleagues, executives or industry thought leaders, surpassing Google as a primary search tool. More than nine in 10 (92%) use LinkedIn for this purpose, compared to 52% for Google.

As for Twitter, the platform’s unique real-time format makes it ideal for executives to "demonstrate [their] wit, relevance or sophisticated views on a topic," the study found, as well as a merging of the professional and personal on the platform, with 43% of respondents following business executives.

Research was conducted online by Qnary with the BE Center for Global Communications through surveys conducted between August 7 and September 5. 

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