More executives are turning to social media during the pandemic

Research from Qnary suggests execs are branching out from LinkedIn to Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Executives are branching out from just using LinkedIn for business. (Photo credit: Getty Images).
Executives are branching out from just using LinkedIn for business. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

NEW YORK: The pandemic hasn’t just changed where many of us work, it has also changed how we interact as well.

According to the fifth edition of Qnary and Emerson College’s Changing Face of Executive Reputation, executives value an executive online presence more than ever. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed are using social media more as a result of the pandemic. And the number of those who don’t use social media dropped from 8% in 2020 to 5% the following year, demonstrating the growing importance of social media for managing one’s online reputation.

The data also suggested that those who actively use social media are viewed positively: 68.4% of those surveyed responded positively to seeing colleagues or leaders share professional news and content on social media. Yet while LinkedIn is still the leading platform for professional use, it has seen a significant drop in use, mirrored by an uptick in professional use of other platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

TikTok is an area of opportunity for professional use: the number of professionals who watch content on the platform grew from 10% in 2020 to 23% last year, but only 11.8% of professionals are themselves posting TikToks.

Respondents also see business leaders as more trustworthy: a majority of respondents are more likely to trust a statement from an executive’s social media account than one posted on a company’s account. They are also more likely to buy products from a brand if they follow one of the company’s leaders, up to 53.3% of respondents as compared to 40% of those surveyed in 2020.

Companies are catching on to the growing importance of social media for executive reputation building. For the first time, this year a majority (58%) of respondents said they received social media training from their company. Meanwhile, 57.5% received social media crisis training, and 53.5% received brand identity training. Yet the report notes that a much smaller number (30%) have received best practices training, and a majority of respondents (51%) remain concerned about personal privacy when posting on social media.

More than 1,800 executives across industries participated in the report, up 58% from the prior year.

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