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Why the CEO Should Tweet (Hint: It Involves $1.3 Trillion Dollars)


Quick: How many Fortune 500 CEOs are on Twitter? Would you believe 20? That’s not a typo.

As of August 30, 2012, Fast Company reports that only 20 CEOs of top companies were using social media. (As themselves, at least. There’s no way to measure how many chief executives have secret Twitter accounts under names like BuffyLvr72, but we hope it’s hundreds.) Contributor and HooteSuite CEO Ryan Holmes points out that Larry Ellison just joined Twitter in June — and tweeted once.

Why aren’t more CEOs involved in social media? Holmes feels it’s because they think of it as a waste of time. Twitter, their thinking goes, is the thing that keeps employees from processing their TPS reports. But if this is truly how they’re thinking, they’re wrong. And it could be costing them.

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According to a new report from McKinsey Global Institute, companies could use social media to improve productivity. From the report: “These technologies, which create value by improving productivity across the value chain, could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value across the four sectors.” (Emphasis ours.)

Twitter, along with wikis and chat programs, could help companies improve communication and collaboration.

“Social technologies have the potential to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos,” Holmes writes. “High-skill workers can now be tapped company-wide.”

So the next time you get caught tweeting, don’t fall back on an excuse about branding or keeping up with the market: Tell the boss you’re breaking down walls and tapping expertise.

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(Photo Credit: petesimon/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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