Social media engagement is a key part of being a marketing leader. This may be common knowledge in our digital age, but our latest research affirms the idea in a surprising way.
The World’s Most Influential CMOs 2017 – a joint report from Sprinklr, Forbes, and LinkedIn that identifies the 50 most influential CMOs in the world – highlights how CMOs succeed (or fail) when it comes to building influence through social media.
As the data journalist for the report, I found a striking pattern: even though the marketing world is in its second decade of social media usage, only the top CMOs are fully harnessing best practices in their own social media strategies.
Here’s how the top 50 stood out among the pool of 439 CMOs we studied, along with lessons they can provide for marketers everywhere.
While most big-brand CMOs are on LinkedIn and nearly half are on Twitter, the top CMOs are much more likely to be on both platforms. All but one of the top 50 CMOs are on LinkedIn (Apple’s Phil Schiller is the lone holdout), while only 90% of all big-brand CMOs are on LinkedIn. And while 46 of our top CMOs are on Twitter, a little less than half of all big-brand CMOs are on Twitter. CMOs must dedicate the necessary time and resources to building influence on social, which means establishing a presence on every top platform.
On both Twitter and LinkedIn, top CMOs tend to have larger networks. Top-50 CMOs have twice as many LinkedIn connections as big brand CMOs overall, and they follow nearly three times as many people on Twitter. That’s a crucial reminder that influence is about listening as well as speaking, and that personal networks matter more than ever. Building influence through social requires establishing and reinforcing personal connections across the digital landscape.
It’s not enough to join Twitter and LinkedIn – top CMOs also make more use of these platforms. The average big-brand CMO tweets less than once every two days, while top CMOs tweet at least once a day on average. If you want to influence the conversation, you need to be a regular contributor.
A leader’s influence grows when he or she focuses their social input on a specific network, industry, or conversation. It’s notable that top CMO influencers have specific topics and people they discuss and engage with, which allows them to build expertise and share thought leadership around a particular theme or hashtag. Picking a niche – such as AI, VR, IoT, or big data – is a great way to build meaningful influence.
Many of our top 50 CMOs follow one another, but they also pay attention to other marketing, tech, and business influencers. Top CMOs follow a mix of high-profile business leaders, consultants, and industry journalists – and many of them follow the same influencers. Paying attention to the most widely followed industry experts helps marketing leaders stay in the loop on the latest trends.
Very few of the 50 most influential CMOs are breakout stars with hundreds of thousands of followers or hour-by-hour social media engagement. After all, they have companies to run.
What the top performers are doing is following well established ground rules of effective social media engagement. They are paying constant attention to their Twitter and LinkedIn presences, and cultivating expertise and relationships that span both the on- and offline worlds.
In 2017, any marketer should understand these basic principles and apply them to build a successful social media presence.
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