Although many CEOs believe that they should focus on running their company without the influence of social media, more and more are coming around to the idea of creating a strong online presence despite the naysayers. John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile is one such executive that bucked the trend and helped his company grow through social media.
“Our lawyers said it was a terrible idea for me to tweet, but I ignored them,” Legere told Inc.com. “Today I have more than 3 million followers, and because many of them are famous people (including Oprah), I have enormous reach via retweets. We did an analysis of this, and it’s not unusual for one of my tweets to get 150 million impressions. This is no game. It’s a way of driving my business. Much of what I do online is listen to customers, and social media is perfect for that.”
Although Legere set the example on Twitter, much of the real engagement CEOs can enjoy is on Instagram. (He’s on there too!) This image-centric social platform is a hub of engagement, and its one billion daily users can’t get enough of their favorite brands and personalities.
Good CEOs should work on growing their followings on Instagram. You might start the momentum with a bot like Plixi that helps you generate real followers quickly. There are also many Instagram automation tools you can use to grow your following. But you’ll also need a strong Instagram platform with consistent content and an authentic voice.
To get a little more inspiration, look to the greats. These CEOs know how to do social media right, and you can learn a lot about creating a strong Instagram campaign by following their accounts.
- Tory Burch
If you’re a female CEO, Tory Burch, an American fashion designer who created her own brand Tory Burch LLC, is an excellent example. She’s the chairman, CEO, and chief designer, which says a lot in and of itself, but she was also listed by Forbes in the top 75 most powerful women in the world.
When you follow her on Instagram, you’ll see how she empowers women every single day. In fact, her bio says that she is focused on “empowering women entrepreneurs.” Each post is dedicated to not only showing off her latest fashion lines and designs, but also discussing the many powerful female minds and hands behind her company. She stays true to her brand and earns every single one of her 1.9 million followers.
- Sir Richard Branson, @richardbranson
Sir Richard Branson is another CEO who focuses on social media for building his brand. In fact, many people are more familiar with Branson than they are with his company Virgin Group. He’s one of the most interesting billionaires in the world who not only runs a highly successful company but spends plenty of time doing the things he loves, like windsurfing.
Regarding his social media use, Branson told CNBC, “I love logging onto Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram every day … Social media has opened up the world, and given the public the power to really have a say — it’s a wonderful thing.”
He uses Instagram (with 3 million followers) and other platforms to extend the reach of his brand and make a bigger name for himself and Virgin Group.
- Ben Lerer, @benjlerer
Ben Lerer is a unique player on this list because his following isn’t huge. Even though he only has a little more than 7,500 followers, he’s a great example of using an authentic brand and voice to market his companies, Thrillist and Group Nine Media. His following is extremely loyal, which is more worthwhile than having millions of less loyal followers.
Lerer said in an interview with Bloomberg that “media’s biggest asset is its audience and their trust.” This is a notion that he seems to embody with his Instagram account. He values every one of his followers with comedic and engaging posts.
- Adam Mosseri, @kevin
Adam Mosseri is an obvious CEO to follow on Instagram since he’s the CEO of the social platform itself. He was very recently named as the CEO of Instagram following co-founder and former CEO Kevin Systrom (another great person to follow on the platform).
Mosseri’s following is somewhat small right now with a little over 64,000 followers, but it’s rapidly gaining. He’s upped his Instagram game since being appointed as the head of the company, and he includes real-life glimpses into his personal life, business dealings, and other insider details that Instagram’s one billion daily followers love to see.
- Sheryl Sandberg
Don’t forget about the CEO of Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, Sheryl Sandberg. Arguably one of the nation’s most influential female CEO’s, her Instagram presence is one for the books. She reaches out to her half a million followers daily to discuss important topics like empowering women and using social media to send positive messages around the world.
Sandberg is recognized as one of the world leaders in female empowerments, so her Instagram messages are often about this topic. “My dream team is women in real positions of power in every industry,” she told Shonda Rhimes in a Hollywood Reporter article. “I don’t want a dream team, I want women to be 50 percent of the CEO jobs and to be 50 percent of the directors and producers of shows.”
It’s this kind of content and dedication to her brand that has her gaining loyal followers that love her and her company.
- Alexa von Tobel, @alexavontobel
Alexa Von Tobel is an up and coming Instagram presence. She made her fortune through radio hosting and blogging. She’s labeled herself as: “Entrepreneur. Founder/CEO @LearnVest, Venture Investor & NYT Bestselling author, Financially Fearless. Radio host. Vogue & Inc columnist. wife & mommy,” according to her bio, which provides a great lesson in creating a strong brand from the very start.
Von Tobel was also named one of the most creative people by Inc.com, which certainly helps her image. In an Inc.com article, she taught that if you want to be successful in your company and Instagram, you need to be “caught having fun.”
“Social media allows us to be human and to show users that we’re also real people, working away in our bright-green Manhattan office,” she says, highlighting some of the fun ways that they’ve humanized their brand, like impromptu sing-offs at the office holiday party.
As you can see, CEOs from companies of all sizes can make a killing on Instagram with the right strategies and on-brand content. Follow their accounts, learn from them, and mimic their actions for Instagram success.