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The Social CEOs of Dallas

Local leaders define cutting-edge engagement
By  |
courtesy of vendor

Six Dallas CEOs have figured it out.

They found a tool that simultaneously motivates the workforce, builds trust, creates transparency, and champions their brands. Checking yes at the chance to do all that at once sounds like a no-brainer — but most CEOs are scared to death of using their personal social media channels.

According to the 2016 Social CEO Report by, there are only 36 Fortune 500 CEOs on Twitter, and only 40 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have any social media presence at all (the vast majority who do are on LinkedIn). We see a similar situation here in the Metroplex, with only a fraction of The Dallas 500 actively posting on social media.

It is evident what not to do in terms of posting: Logging on and letting loose is a mistake, and being divisive is a miss because CEOs can’t afford to limit their market by offending half their potential audience. So what’s the secret to getting it right?

It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Affable, approachable leaders might prefer a more personal style, giving readers a view into their private lives to see them at work, at play, and contributing to their communities. More reserved CEOs can do well keeping their content business-related, focusing more on adding their personal spin to company news or events.

Whichever direction, it’s imperative it comes from an authentic place. Like these.

The Four Effective Posting Personalities of Dallas Leaders

Just the Facts

With this style, posts act more like a news feed, pulling headlines related to the CEO and the organization. Is it compelling reading? Not entirely, but it’s a decent first step into the social media pool, and it creates a solid platform to work from later. A look at Dallas Fed President and CEO Rob S. Kaplan’s Twitter feed shows that even straightforward tweets can garner a sizable following.

Rob S. Kaplan, President and CEO, Dallas Fed
6,075 followers, 505 tweets

Business Plus

This approach isn’t personal by nature, but it’s relevant to the audience and demonstrates transparency and accessibility. As Greyhound’s David Leach shows, something as simple as adding an offbeat link evokes personality and shows he’s paying attention.

David Leach, President and CEO, Greyhound
593 followers on LinkedIn


Personal and Accessible

For those CEOs who were on social media long before they hit the C-suite, this might be the most natural fit. Readers will discover not only organizational news and events, but the human face behind them. Despite their casual appearance, these communications are strategically honed to tell a story.

Nina Vaca, Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group
8,005 followers, 3,009 tweets

Jennifer Sampson, President and CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
3,921 followers on LinkedIn


This approach is for CEOs who seek the social brass ring. Not only is it the most effective style, it’s also the most diverse and transparent. Tweets include notes on employee recognition, company awards, and other bragging points, as well as a human response to current events and personal sentiments and color. Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly — who made the Hootsuite list of Top 100 CEOs on Social Media (No. 36) — posts in each of these areas effectively, as does serial entrepreneur and Mavs owner Mark Cuban.

Gary Kelly, Chairman and CEO, Southwest Airlines
4,499 followers, 175 tweets

Mark Cuban, entrepreneur, investor, and Dallas Mavericks owner
7.56 million followers, 2,197 tweets

Getting Started

Most CEOs hesitate to jump into the social media fray for three primary reasons: desire, time, and/or know-how.

Regarding the desire to be a social CEO: the pro-con debate is over. Today’s connected environment supports and encourages social networking. It’s expected.

Chris Perry, chief digital officer at Weber Shandwick, put it this way: “Making social content and engagement a core component of leadership communications transforms the CEO into a corporate storyteller.” The audience is there; it’s the CEO’s job to engage it.

That leaves two primary deterrents: time and know-how. Get my take on that here.

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