RALEIGH – Yes, even CEOs need to use social media and they do – some better than others.

Flagship Social, a social media agency based out of Raleigh, released its ranking of the Top 50 Executives on Social Media this week, with  Zillow co-founder and former CEO Spencer Rascoff topping the list.

He was followed by Amway CEO Milind Pant, Verizon CEO Hans E. Vestberg and Bridgewater Associates founder and co-CEO Ray Dalio.

However, there’s no mention of any execs from the Triangle — or North Carolina, for that matter – in the top 50.

“There was one, Jim Whitehurst of Red Hat, who ranked #61 on our list,” Flagship Social’s CEO Kennedy Ricci told WRAL TechWire by email.

He added: “We evaluated a couple executives with ties to North Carolina; however, most were not qualified because of our company revenue requirements or were physically located in offices outside of NC.”

The agency analyzed the performance of nearly 300 executives of companies with revenues of more than $1 billion on four platforms – LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Prominent names outside the top 10 included Richard Branson, Virgin (#20); Michael Dell, Dell Technologies (#21); Angela Ahrendts, Apple (#23); Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook (#29); Steve Case, Revolution LLC (#45); Mary Barra, General Motors (#49); and Jack Dorsey, Twitter (#50).

As to what determines good content, Ricci said the firm assessed quality based on “image quality, subject framing, image post editing and content relevance.”

It also helped if they could write well. “We looked to see if they had any grammatical errors, typos, or spelling mistakes in their posts,” he said.

The Top 50 Executives on Social Media is the first such ranking of C-Suite executives’ performance on social media. Unlike other social media lists, Ricci said the goal was not to find just the highest followed or most liked executives, but the executives who had built a robust social media presence across platforms.

Among the study’s other findings:

  • 92% of the executives analyzed were active on LinkedIn, 89% on Facebook, 47% on Instagram and 43% on Twitter. Only 17% were active on all four platforms.
  • The industries with the most highly ranked executives include (1) Telecom; (2) Retail; and (3) Technology.
  • The executive with the most total followers across all platforms was Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, with 122,694,625 followers. Despite having the most followers overall, Zuckerberg did not rank among Flagship’s qualitative Top 50 Executives on Social Media.
  • Microsoft’s Bill Gates has the largest followings on Twitter and LinkedIn. Those with most followers on the other channels – Facebook and Instagram – are their co-founders: Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook and Kevin Systrom on Instagram.
  • Virgin’s Richard Branson was rated as having the best overall content.
  • Twitter, with three, and LinkedIn, with two, were the only companies with more than one representative in the Top 50 Executives on Social Media

“Despite an increase in the number of executives on social media – and some truly stellar social media presences – quality among these accounts still varies greatly, and there are large opportunities for improvement,” said Ricci.

Flagship Social is a specialized social marketing firm focused on personal branding for prominent individuals such as C-suite executives, entrepreneurs, public figures and non-profits. Before becoming a separate entity, Flagship Social operated as a division of AdLove Media, a social marketing and analytics agency founded in 2015. While Flagship will only offer executive branding services, AdLove will continue to offer broader social media growth and consulting services.

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