Today I read an article at Forbes bemoaning the lack of social networking activity from senior leaders at some of our biggest companies. At the heart of the article is a new study showing that under 1/3 of the leaders of Fortune 500 companies are active on social media.
Warren Buffet has made just two tweets for instance, whilst Marissa Mayer has a paltry 139 connections on LinkedIn. What’s more, Ford’s Alan Mulally is not on LinkedIn at all.
Shock, horror I hear you say. A damning indictment of an executive that’s out of touch with the requirements of the modern business world. Except Ford are one of the best companies at utilising social media in just the right ways, ie going way beyond just pushing sales and marketing messages out through public networks.
For instance they were amongst the first motor companies to locate their best customers and ask for their feedback on new prototypes, so they could improve models at an early stage before they come to market.
Company CMO Jim Farley has been quite open about the important role social media plays at Ford in allowing them to solicit opinion and input from external sources.
Scott Monty, Head of Social Media at Ford, has also been a vocal cheerleader for the utilisation of social media within the company. It all fits together under the ‘One Ford’ strategy announced by Mulally back in 2006, and whilst it’s doubtful that he had social media in mind when he devised the strategy, it has since proved to be essential in realising that dream.
For have undoubtedly been one of the more successful companies at adopting social technologies within their enterprise, and much of that success will have been driven from the boardroom down.
So, does it matter if Mulally doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile? Is it right to suggest that this absence belies a lack of any social understanding? I’d say that the evidence pretty much speaks for itself.