“Chief executives are under a lot more scrutiny now,” she said. “If they got a typo wrong then the whole world would ridicule them for not being able to spell! Lack of time is also an issue because although a 140 character tweet sounds easy to do it really isn’t. You have to craft a message which reflects your character and personality. Fifteen tweets a day taking you 15 minutes each time is a lot and it’s just not a core focus for chief executives.”
But of course her message to bosses is that it has to be a focus – they have to realise the value of Twitter in engaging customers and employees who in large numbers are active on social media.
“Look at the recent fiasco at Tesco and its profit overstatements,” she said. “Its new boss Dave Lewis was nowhere to be seen on social media. He was being talked about on these mediums but in effect he gagged himself. His employees didn’t see him defending them. He was a silent CEO and how can you lead if you are silent?”
Drew Benvie, founder and managing director of Battenhall, added: “I remember a CEO telling me how surprised he was on signing up to Twitter that his employees read his tweets. He had previously struggled to get any of his staff to read his email messages. He recognised that he now had a direct channel to both staff and his customers. He caught the Twitter bug!”
Look out for tomorrow’s instalment of this series to hear about a chief executive who has fully welcomed Twitter, Sage’s Stephen Kelly who has 5,323 followers…