Too busy to tweet? Only seven FTSE 100 CEOs are active on Twitter – and none get close to Richard Branson for social power

Despite widespread recognition of social media’s influence on business, just seven FTSE CEOs are active on Twitter.

After researching global online conversations across all networks, social analytics company Talkwalker found that, while CEOs are good at listening to the social world, most of them fail to engage with it.

Of the CEOs at FTSE 100 Index companies, which have the highest market capitalisation on the London Stock Exchange, Sage’s Stephen Kelly took the social crown with an activity score of 112 across tweets, replies and retweets over the last month.

Samir Brikho, CEO of AMEC Foster Wheeler, and Xavier Rolet, CEO of London Stock Exchange, took second and third place with activity scores of 57 and 49 respectively.

>See also: Is it time to impose real world controls on social media?

‘Ignoring Twitter is like letting the phone ring,’ commented Robert Glaesener, CEO of Talkwalker. ‘Twitter is not a parallel universe for egocentric celebs and chatty customer services. It is a dynamic forum in which a CEO can lead from the front, extend influence, impress stakeholders, set a corporate benchmark and show staff how to engage with their stakeholders.’

Of the seven tweeting FTSE 100 CEOs, five follow British journalist Robert Peston, who gain notoriety for his coverage of the financial crisis, and the same number following prime minister David Cameron. Four of the seven follow Bill Gates, Richard Branson and co-founder Martha Lane Fox.

But while they are quite particular in the way they construct their list of follows, their effort is not matched by the amount of tweeting they do.

However, not all business leaders slack in the realm of social media – with Virgin Group owner Richard Branson particularly prolific. 

By more or less every measure –activity, mentions, replies and retweets – Branson far outstrips his peers. He is also streets ahead of the CEOs of US tech giants, including Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and the CEO of Twitter itself, Dick Costolo.

The 7 FTSE100 CEOs active on Twitter (activity over the last month)

  1. Sage Pay CEO, Stephen Kelly, (@SKellyCEO)
  2. AMEC Foster Wheeler CEO, Samir Brikho (@samirbrikho)
  3. London Stock Exchange CEO, Xavier Rolet (@xrolet)
  4. Pearson CEO, John Fallon (@johnfallon)
  5. National Grid CEO, Steven Holliday (@NGSteveH)
  6. Aberdeen Asset Management CEO, Martin Gilbert (@MartinGilbert83)
  7. ARM CEO, Simon Segars (@simonsegars)

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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