Why executives need to be active on Twitter – and how to get there

Posted by Murray Sye

on Tue, May 19, 2015 @ 08:58 AM


Are you part of the C-suite community?

Are you active on social media? You know, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter?

A whopping 68% of Fortune 500 CEO's don't have any social presence whatsoever, according to a study by and DOMO. Of those, 213 engage on only one platform. 74% of CEOs who only participate in a single network join LinkedIn first.

Gone are the days where chief executives can hide behind boardroom doors. There's a growing expectation from consumers and employees that leaders of companies should embody the brands they represent – and demonstrate that commitment by being visible and accessible on social media.

At minimum, you want to at least be set up on Twitter.

More and more frequently, people are visiting Twitter to see if company executives are present. Prospective customers want to see that there’s at least one personality behind an organization. If there is no profile to be found, it sends a message that your organization isn’t open to conversation, much less for business.


A completed profile with a few tweets is better than no profile at all. Case in point: GM’s CEO, Mary Barra. She’s not very active, but she’s present and responds when tweeted at. Her profile is well crafted, demonstrating brand values and openness and is used as a crisis management vehicle.

If you haven’t already, customize your Twitter profile to a) make it look spiffy, b) inform potential followers who you are, and c) provide a reason why you’re worth a follow.

Virgin CEO Richard Branson does this well. His Twitter profile is complete with a close up photo, a custom background/cover photo, a short bio, his location and a URL pointing to Virgin.


Tweet regularly and tweet often

Once you have your profile up to snuff, it’s time to work on growing your audience. Growing your following is about being visible any time your followers and future followers are viewing their feed. So how can you be present non-stop without having to be logged into Twitter and tweeting non-stop?

The answer is three-fold:

  1. Tweet content you create
  2. Tweet content created by others
  3. Tweet that content more than once

To share content around the clock, you need a tool that can do four things:

  1. Automate publishing from a blog feed
  2. Easily share content you find anywhere
  3. Schedule Tweets
  4. Upload custom images

You can do all four of these things with HubSpot Social Inbox, (below) but if you don’t use HubSpot, there are a few other tools you can use to tweet 24/7, including Hootsuite and Buffer.


Additionally, HubSpot, Hootsuite and Buffer have Chrome extensions that allow you to schedule and share links to content you find anywhere on the web without having to leave the page.

Whether you choose to use HubSpot or some other social sharing tool, the point is to save time and become more efficient by:

  • Automate tweets for content your create (on your blog)
  • Curating and sharing quality content as you discover it
  • Increasing the reach of that content by scheduling multiple tweets

When it comes to Twitter, it matters less where the content you tweet came from and matters more that it’s plentiful, entertaining, educational or otherwise valuable to your existing and future followers.


Build your following

Your second greatest opportunity for growing followers, other than tweeting around the clock, is to follow people and add them to Twitter lists. Since people get notified via their email and activity feeds when you do these things, they’re more likely to notice you and follow back.

You should still only follow people you actually care about. And definitely don’t follow more than a couple hundred users per day, otherwise Twitter might mistake you for a spam bot and suspend your account.
You can find people to follow by:

  • Importing or inviting email contacts
  • Using Twitter's "Who to Follow" tool found in the "Discover" section of
  • Looking at who your followers are following
  • Browsing a Twitter directory, such as or



Get active on Twitter

Do's and don'ts from HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan


  1. Have a “channel” What I think he means is that you should treat your twitter stream like a broadcasting channel with a solid content strategy, editorial focus and publication schedule.
  2. Show your personality You want personality? Check out Gary Vaynerchuk’s twitter feed, @garyvee. Notice the 1.05 million followers? Yeah, me too!
  3. Tweet quotes 
If there was one of these Do’s to turn into a Don’t, it’s this one. Too many people only tweet quotes. They sit down with Bartlett’s and load 342 quotes to tweet the next week. Not cool.
  4. Tweet what you read – add comments  Kind of like what I’m doing here. What’s your take?
  5. Retweet with Commentary Again, what’s your take? What can you add to the conversation? What resonated with you?
  6. Leave room for others to comment Don’t leave it to the retweeters to have to figure out where to edit your retweetable gems. Many won’t or your tweet will get truncated.
  7. Respond to @ messages You really need to be social if you intend to crush it on social media.
  8. Use hashtags to enter the conversation If you’re going to get the most out of  Twitter you need to understand hashtags. 
  9. Repeat good stuff  Hmmm. To be honest, this Do seems to be repetitious of 3, 4 & 5 but yeah, if it’s good, repeat it – which is what I’m doing with this whole list.  
  10. This is my addition to the list: Learn how and spend time tracking your twitter engagement, your industry’s, your competition and the Tweeters who are doing it right. There are all sorts of tools that allow you to do this. Twitter is a hundred million conversations going on at once, you want to make sure you’re part of the right ones.



  1. Don’t sell too hard or too often But do sell, just don’t be an ass about it or spammy or scammy. You know who you are! If you need a rule of thumb, offer value, entertainment and interest 4 to 5 times as often as you offer promotion. When you do promote what you do or offer, embed it in information that has value; a how to, an industry overview, a free assessment, a white paper.
  2. Don’t be boring Take a stand, express an opinion, use a mildly bad word (or not, if your Mom follows you), but don’t just talk about you, you, you because that’s boring!
  3. Keep long, personal conversations to Direct Messages
… because it’s boring, rude and exclusionary of your other followers who don’t get to be part of the conversation.
  4. Don’t ignore DM’s  Again, it’s the whole social part of social media. If you don’t respond then people either figure you’re ignoring them or you’re not there. Either way, that question they asked about that thing you do or did that could lead to a big yahoo; ain’t gonna happen if you’re not paying attention.
  5. Don’t drink and tweet It’s kind of like drunk calling your ex at 3 a.m., never a good strategy.
    Here’s another bonus tip from Brian: Don’t be too mechanical. We’re all busy and it’s awfully tempting to use a tool to just schedule a bunch of tweets once a week and forget about it but that defeats the purpose which is to engage and be engaged. Not to say that you should be glued to your Twitter feed but make sure you’re alerted and can respond in a somewhat expedient manner when you or your company or your products are retweeted, hashtagged and/or direct messaged.


CEO's who participate on social media are able to build better connections and a stronger network. And – most importantly – these connections can turn into customers, partners or employees down the line. Simply put, getting social is good for business.

Social Media and the C-suite


Written by Murray Sye

Murray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Follow WhiteSpace

Join Our Mailing List