The New Dow 30: Crunching Numbers on CEO Social Media

Sep 30, 2020 | Executive Social, LinkedIn, Social CEO, Top Blogs

An elite club of 30 chief executives helms the companies that rule the stock market. How do they rate on social media?

Changes to the Dow Jones industrial average (DJIA), a composite of 30 publicly traded companies, ushered in new players and downgraded old favorites.

Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, summarized the changes in an interview with The Washington Post. “Being removed is an oil and gas company, a defense contractor, and a traditional pharmaceutical company,” she said. “They will be replaced by a software company, a biotech company, and a manufacturing and technology company.”

Gone from the 30 are ExxonMobil, Pfizer, and Raytheon Technologies. The new additions are Salesforce, Amgen, and Honeywell International, to reflect the still rising dominance of tech companies.

We ran our own analysis of Dow 30 CEOs and their activity on LinkedIn and Twitter. The revised list might have caused some ripples in the business world, but overall, these giants of industry are still getting their feet wet when it comes to a robust, social media presence — just 5 of the CEOs are active on both platforms.

Portrait of a Dow 30 CEO

While the Dow 30 companies represent a diverse collection, the same can’t be said about the demographics of their CEOs. In both 2019 and 2020, the group is all-male, and just three are non-white. Kenneth Frazier of Merck is the sole Black CEO on the list, and he does not maintain a strong presence on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Two Indian-Americans are represented on the list, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, and Arvind Krishna of IBM.


Satya Nadella LinkedIn


Arvind Krishna LinkedIn


Krishna and Nadella are active on both LinkedIn and Twitter. However, Nadella is in a class by himself with it comes to followers, with a staggering 8.2 million on LinkedIn and 2.2 million on Twitter. Only Tim Cook from Apple has more followers on Twitter, with 12.1 people watching his tweets. Cook is absent on LinkedIn.


Tim Cook Twitter


Dow 30 CEOs are seasoned executives with an average age of about 60. Nadella checks in as the youngest leader, at 53, while Stefano Pessina of Walgreens Boots Alliance is the oldest CEO at age 79. Pessina is not on either social media platform.


Stefano Pessina


To Tweet or to Post? That Is the Question

LinkedIn is the 2020 social media platform of choice, with slightly more Dow 30 CEOs active on LinkedIn than Twitter. Just 17 of these executives are active on LinkedIn, and 12 are active only on LinkedIn. Eight chief executives are active tweeters, with Apple’s Tim Cook, Disney’s Bob Iger, and Marc Benioff of Salesforce active only on Twitter. (More on Benioff later.)

However, CEOs have larger followings on Twitter than LinkedIn. That likely has much to do with the format of each site. In general, LinkedIn promotes personal relationships, while Twitter features succinct posts for larger audiences.

CEO Following on Twitter

A Force (Salesforce) to Be Reckoned With

One thing we need to point out is that Marc Benioff of Salesforce, newly added to the Dow, is a beast on Twitter. He might not have the largest number of followers at 1 million, but he’s at 29.5K+ tweets and counting since he joined Twitter in 2009.


Marc Benioff Twitter


He talks about his company, shares clips from his frequent media appearances, highlights news stories, and shares his opinions on business issues. If you want to know where he stands on most topics, or simply want to follow the progress of his influential company, insiders know they can find Benioff on Twitter.

The Closing Bell

What isn’t represented by our data is why so many Dow 30 CEOs steer clear of social media. Could it be they think social media isn’t necessary in their position? Or do they simply lack the time? Social media works best when it’s personal, so even these giants of Wall Street can’t completely delegate their online presence.


How to craft a ceo brand on Linkedin by judy schramm

You don’t have to be a CEO to look like one online. Our latest eBook, How to Craft a CEO Brand on LinkedIn shows you how to use LinkedIn strategically to build a strong personal brand, position yourself as a thought leader, and raise your visibility so you can make faster progress on key initiatives.


Who is your favorite CEO online?

Who else should read this? Please share!

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