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There’s a right and wrong way to use social media as the public face of a company. CEOs are influencers that can affect their company’s revenue through a social media presence — good or bad.
Elon Musk endorsed antisemitic hate speech on X, formerly known as Twitter, in November 2023. Musk and the company faced a wave of backlash that prompted many companies to cease advertising on the platform for fear that ad content would appear side-by-side with hateful content. Apple, Bravo, IBM, Oracle and Xfinity ads all appeared next to pro-Nazi content, according to media watchdog group Media Matters. Several of those companies no longer advertise on the platform.
When advertisers leave X, revenue drops. Revenue has been dropping at X for much of 2023, both because of Musk’s changes to the platform and now his public conduct. X’s ad revenue has declined at least 55% year-over-year each month in 2023, according to data from Guideline.
Musk’s misstep is an example of how an executive should not present themselves on social media. His company and his personal reputation are damaged.
That being said there are many ways executives can benefit their company with a social media presence, and many who are doing it right.
Personal social media accounts can be an asset in promoting any brand or company. Specifically, an executive’s personal presence can make a difference for online branding efforts because of their importance to the company. Some reasons a CEO should have a social media presence include the following:
To reap these benefits and maximize their influence, CEOs should practice the following:
Companies can benefit from CEOs being consistent, authentic and engaging on social media. Below are some examples of leaders doing it right.
The chair and CEO at Nasdaq publishes directly on LinkedIn and has used the platform to establish herself as a thought leader in the industry. Her position as a leader in a major stock exchange makes her a go-to source of market trends and economic forecasts. She has half a million followers on the platform and is a LinkedIn Top Voice.
The president and CEO at Walmart often takes to social media to make appreciation posts detailing his visits to various company-owned stores around the country. He gives shoutouts to employees and posts photos meeting the staff, which is humanizing and shows empathy toward employees.
The CEO of OpenAI is always taking to social media to show appreciation for his coworkers and makes frequent public appearances to talk about the way his company’s product can benefit humanity. Altman also candidly shares his opinions and differentiates his personal account from the company account by making personal tweets.
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The CEO of TikTok uses social media to promote his brand and other brands as well. He posts on his own platform to show how it can connect users with content they love and other users. This both humanizes and promotes the brand.

The CEO of Microsoft shares business updates and technology news on social media. He also uses it to communicate core values, such as social justice, equality and diversity. Nadella also shows good crisis management on social. When Altman, CEO of OpenAI — an important partner of Microsoft — was abruptly fired by the board, Nadella immediately took to social media to express the company’s position. In the days that followed, Altman was rehired at OpenAI, and three of the four remaining board members stepped down. Nadella consistently posted updates on Microsoft’s position and expressed appreciation for employees.
At the end of the day, the greatest privilege of my job is working with people who are driven by mission. These last 5 days, I saw people across OpenAI remaining calm and resolute in driving their mission despite all that was happening around them. And I saw people across…

The CEO of Patagonia discusses issues that matter to him and reflect Patagonia’s core values on social media, particularly the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. His social presence also showcases Patagonia’s corporate culture, which is based on activism, sustainability and employee well-being.
Ben Lutkevich is a writer for WhatIs, where he writes definitions and features.
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