5 Critiques of 5 Famous CEOs’ Twitter Feeds

CEOs are magical creatures. Simply by being on social media, they improve their companies’ standing in the eyes of potential buyers.

According to the 2012 CEO, Social Media, and Leadership survey:

  • 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media.
  • 82% of buyers say that they trust a company more when the CEO and company leadership are active on social media.

So, let’s take a look at a few CEOs’ profiles, and let’s see what makes them so magical (or not so magical)…

My criteria

As I evaluate the CEOs’ Twitter feeds, I will look primarily at three items.

First, does their profile give me a sense of who they are?

Second, what are they sharing with their followers online, and how does that content contribute to their professional identities?

Third, I’m looking to see if they are following the 4-1-1 guideline. “For every self-serving tweet, you should retweet one relevant tweet and, most importantly, share four pieces of relevant content written by others.”

Let’s take a look to see how 5 CEOs are doing…

Gary Vaynerchuk

VaynerMedia | @garyvee

Can you tell that Gary Vaynerchuk is fun? If you don’t know who Gary is, he is one of the big social media evangelists. He wrote the book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook (pictured in his header image). From the banner image to the bio full of random capital letters, Gary’s profile tells you that he is going to be a good time.

Gary’s smiley profile photo adds to the effect. In general, smiling in profile pictures is a good idea. Duke University researchers found that retrieval of face-name associations was faster for smiling faces (compared to neutral ones). So, show off those pearly whites!

Gary even shows off his pearly whites with emoticons! 🙂

On Twitter, Gary has no problem sharing his thoughts about how social media should be done.

For those who subscribe to Gary’s vision of social media, they will love his Twitter feed. For those who don’t, his Twitter feed might be too Gary-centric. (Though, his videos are focused on answering his follower’s questions.)

As you can see, his feed can become a bit repetitive.

Overall Grade: B+

Report Card: Gary has a strong personal brand. There’s no question about who Gary is, and with his bubbly personality, Gary knows how to get his followers excited about everything he does. Sure, some people may grow tired of the Gary Vee Show, but Gary is true to himself on social media.

For most, though, Gary’s approach to social media–with all his charisma and pizzazz–is not easily replicable.

Marc Benioff

Salesforce | @Benioff

Unlike Gary Vaynerchuk, Marc Benioff has a brief biography. Twitter users have up to 160 characters to describe themsleves, but for Marc Benioff, “CEO@salesforce.com” suffices.

It is surprising that the Salesforce legal department has not asked Marc to augment his Twitter bio. Many larger companies require that their employees use phrases like “Opinions are my own,” and well… Marc Benioff is not scared to share political sentiments on Twitter.

The man has a point of view. That’s refreshing in a world where people are afraid to create ripples. The problem is that Marc is not always good at expressing his point of view. Take this tweet, for instance:

Was the Facebook experiment a good kind of amazing? Or was it a bad kind of amazing? We don’t know.

Though Marc Benioff is an active sharer on Twitter, he has yet to learn how to craft a good message for the content he curates. He could stand to offer more context to his tweets.

Furthermore, it is odd that Marc rarely (if ever) shares Salesforce’s created content. His marketing team actively posts tips and tricks on their blogs, but they do not trickle up to the CEO.

Overall Grade: C+

Report Card: Marc gets an A for effort. It’s good to see a CEO be so active on social media. That said, someone in his marketing department could give him a few pointers. For one thing, his header image could be redone, and he needs to learn how to effectively share content on Twitter. With a little more effort, Marc could be quite the force on Twitter.

Peter Cashmore

Mashable | @petecashmore

Unlike Marc Benioff, Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable, understands the aesthetics of Twitter. His Twitter picture complements his header image, and the colors pop off the screen.

With such vibrant colors in his profile picture and header, you’d think that his Twitter profile would be equally as vibrant, but his original content is sporadic. (In fact, he has not been too active on Twitter this summer.) A good example of his created content is this Vine of edible Legos, posted on May 24:

As the CEO of a publishing company focused on tech, “geeky” videos like this one will resonate. He clearly knows his audience.

Pete has a problem that very few companies face. He has far too much content to share. Every day, his team churns out countless new articles, which makes it easy for him to find branded content to share with his followers. As you can see, his links tend to come from mashable.com:

By sharing only content from Mashable, Pete positions Mashable as the one-stop place to get all your news. This is good from a company’s brand perspective. However, from a personal brand perspective, it gives the impression that Pete does not read widely.

For that matter, it is questionable if Pete reads the articles at all. If you look at the chain of articles on May 14 and 15, Pete simply posted the headlines of the articles. I’d be curious to know what Pete thinks of the articles. What part of the article stood out? Why is he sharing this article? Is this the most popular article on Mashable from that day?

Overall Grade: B

Report Card: Pete shows great potential on Twitter. He just needs to put in a little more effort into how he curates his articles, and it would be nice to see some more activity–even during the lull of the summer months.

Love the Vines.

Jeff Weiner

LinkedIn | @JeffWeiner

You know, normally, I would encourage someone like Jeff to include a header image. But the strip of blue behind his profile picture actually works. He is CEO of LinkedIn, and a similar blue is the primary color in LinkedIn’s brand.

What I find refreshing is the fact that Jeff, the CEO of LinkedIn, is active on Twitter, another social media platform. He recognizes that Twitter is not a direct competitor, and he uses the platform to build his personal brand.

In fact, Jeff shows that he has a keen awareness of what is happening in the social media space. For instance, on August 6, Jeff Weiner shared this video:

Jeff added this comment:

Remember Marc Benioff’s “Amazing” post about Facebook? This Twitter post is the antithesis. Jeff explains why he is sharing this video. He thinks it’s a cool idea, and by referencing the app “Yo,” he subtly indicates that he has stayed on top of the latest trends in tech.

As far as I know, LinkedIn has no stake in the “Push for Pizza” app. Jeff’s post is not part of some corporate spam campaign on social media. It’s just something that he found cool. Jeff understands the “4-1-1” rule. (For every self-serving tweet, you should retweet one relevant tweet and, most importantly, share four pieces of relevant content written by others.)

Of course, Jeff has plenty of self-serving tweets sprinkled into his feed. Take, for instance, the Bleacher Report article on athletes. (See the first image in this section.) Sure, the article did not come from LinkedIn, but it helps build LinkedIn’s brand image. It gives the company a hip, cool factor.

Overall Grade: A

Report Card: Overall, Jeff gets Twitter. He may not create cool images like Pete Cashmore or Jack Dorsey (below), but he understands how to give context to his shared articles. Plus, he is good at mixing content about his brand with cool, third-party content.

Jack Dorsey

Square | @jack

First off, kudos to Jack. As an early adopter of Twitter, he landed the Twitter handle @Jack. Unfortunately, most of us are not that fortunate, and we have to settle for a creative combination of our first and last names.

Similarly, most of Twitter users cannot get away with a bio-less Twitter presence. Under Jack’s name, there’s a giant void. As the CEO of Square, Jack perhaps assumes that most people will know who he is. Or perhaps he is trying to cultivate the image of a man of mystery–one who does not smile, wears Ray Ban sunglasses, and loves tying the knot. (What’s with the header image? Is that a picture of a square knot?)

When you get into Jack’s Twitter feed, you can tell that he has a strong appreciation for visual aesthetics. The imagery in his profile is stunning, and his followers love it, too. The image of the tortoise (below) received 54 retweets.

When Jack is not serving up a healthy dose of eye candy on Twitter, he keeps his readers abreast of the latest news in his industry and about his company. He even includes some news related to personal interests like running.

Overall Grade: A-

Report Card: Jack understands the visual nature of the Twitter platform. He serves up a decent mix of curated third-party content, as well as original content (e.g. the photos). He also understands that Twitter is about mixing personal interests with professional interests.

I’ll try to overlook his bio faux pas.

So… who’s my favorite?

That’s a tough one. Can I combine Jeff Weiner with Jack Dorsey? I want Jeff Weiner’s curatorial skills, and Jack Dorsey’s eye for images. Is that too much to ask?

Key takeaways

It’s not easy offering a critique of some of the most powerful CEOs. But my hope with these critiques is to give you some direction when it comes to building your brand on Twitter.

To help you out, I’ve created a list of four key takeaways.

  1. Many top CEOs on Twitter create visual content: Our brains like images, and some of the most creative CEOs on Twitter post their own visual content. Some create short Vine videos. Others take photos. It all depends on the CEO.
  2. They aren’t afraid to talk about themselves and their companies: A CEO’s social media presence is free PR and marketing. So, it goes without saying that a CEO should talk about his or her company.
  3. They aren’t afraid to talk about others’ work: Some CEOs choose to speak only about their company, but there’s a much larger world out there. Don’t you want to show the world that you know about more than just your company?
  4. They understand how to share links: When sharing links, give your followers some context. Why are you sharing this link? And be clear; try to avoid ambiguous words like “Amazing.”

If you’re looking for a better way to engage your Twitter audience,

Request a 15-minute demo of Trapit! We’d be happy to help!

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