The Social CEO Report
Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons has emerged as the most influential Irish leader on social media this year according to our first Social CEO Report.
The release of the report marks the launch of our Leaders Reputation Programme, a tailored three-month leadership communications programme, designed to empower and build confidence in business leaders to communicate and advocate for their organisation externally. The programme consists of four building blocks - the role of leadership in reputation management, social media training, preparing for media interviews and a national media profiling programme.
The new Social CEO Report analysed the social media activity and LinkedIn profiles of the CEOs of the 100 organisations featured in the agency’s respected Ireland RepTrak® study.
The study explores those CEOs who are maximising LinkedIn as a tool to communicate their own organisation’s purpose, business news, peer and team recognition and elevate their organisation’s corporate reputation.
The Top 10 Irish CEOs on Social Media
Niall Gibbons, CEO, Tourism Ireland, who took first place, was highly commended for the popularity of his LinkedIn channel, the vibrancy of his narrative in promoting the island of Ireland overseas on behalf of Tourism Ireland and the quality of the engagement from his connections. Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone Ireland and Francesca McDonagh, CEO, Bank of Ireland took second and third place, respectively.
Why focus on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn and Twitter were examined for this analysis of CEOs because they are the most used of corporate communications platforms. The study showed that 85% of the 100 Irish leaders examined have a LinkedIn account, but only 38% posted in 2020. A post is deemed as anything they have posted on their own feed - from posting an image, video or an insight or sharing another LinkedIn users post.
Of those studied, 30 CEOs were noted as having a well-executed social media strategy ensuring they maximised their connections and their content to elevate their organisation’s vision and purpose. Only 27% of the CEOs however were active on Twitter. LinkedIn was the channel selected to focus on for our rankings given its space as a professional community. It remains an undeniably safe space to communicate and is the channel most favoured by actively engaged CEOs on social media. Facebook & Instagram are an important channel for brand communications, but they are not utilised broadly enough by senior executives to be included in this report.
There was a missed opportunity noted for 62 of the 100 CEO’s to leverage the influential social media platform. The launch of TRA’s Leaders Reputation Programme provides a solution to upskill CEOs in leveraging their position of leadership to drive their organisation’s corporate reputation. Of those studied, 30 CEOs were noted as having a well planned and executed LinkedIn social media strategy to ensure that they maximised their connections and their content to elevate their organisation’s vision and purpose – these 30 formed the focus of the study. CEOs who had not posted in 2020 were excluded from the ranking entirely.
Leaders of Indigenous Irish organisations account for 40% of the top ten and 50% of the top 30 positions. Irish semi state bodies were also strongly represented, with their CEOs taking one third of the top 30 positions, led by the CEOs of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, IDA Ireland, RTÉ, and An Post.
Over one third of the top 30 were female leaders, with Anne O’Leary Vodafone, Francesca McDonagh Bank of Ireland, Cathriona Hallahan Microsoft, Sharon McCooey LinkedIn, and Dee Forbes RTÉ taking top positions.
Social Media leaders played their part in leveraging these digital platforms to build corporate reputation, with LinkedIn CEO Sharon McCooey taking 8th place, while Facebook CEO Gareth Lambe took 12th place.
Knowing what to say and how to say it
With the period under review March – September 2020, striking the right tone on social media had a heightened importance. Their activity on social media was a strong representation of how these leaders responded during the Covid-19 crisis and how they led their organisations during a period of change and uncertainty. All top 10 leaders addressed Covid-19 in their posts with 46% of content directly promoting support measures for their industry and customers specifically for the pandemic.
Displaying internal resilience and communicating a strong business continuity plan was the second most common theme with 32% of all posts from the top 10 relating to internal business news and initiatives.
Speaking about the results, Niamh Boyle, Managing Director at The Reputations Agency said:
“With more communications channels than ever it is important to understand which channels and messages to focus leadership energies upon, to best engage with key stakeholders and influencers. The appeal of a senior leadership team and their ability to communicate not just about financial performance or the latest product or service, but to provide a clear and compelling corporate vision is becoming more and more important.
Leadership can be an important conduit for enterprises to communicate about their innovation, workplace, citizenship programmes, governance, performance, as well as their products & services – all drivers of corporate reputation. A leader who can communicate openly, authentically, and transparently can help win the hearts and minds of their stakeholders.”
Commenting on the study, Anne Browning, Director at The Reputations Agency said:
“Our new study highlights the importance of a strong leadership strategy, as organisations who are perceived as well-organised, managed effectively, with appealing leaders, and a strong vision for the future can help build stronger corporate reputations.
When making our analysis, we pinpointed three key areas to decide the ranking – popularity, engagement & activity. LinkedIn and Twitter were examined because they are the most used of corporate communications platforms. When we dug deeper, LinkedIn was the ultimate channel to focus on for our rankings given its space as a professional community. It remains an undeniably safe space to communicate on and elevate your organisations’ corporate reputation.
Over the course of the study it was interesting to observe the type of content used by Irish leaders who ranked in the Top 10. Across the board those leaders understand the power of using rich imagery and video content for connecting with their audience.”
For more information on the agency’s newly launched Leaders Reputation Programme and to find out how it can help build your organisation’s reputation, please CLICK HERE
The study analysed the LinkedIn profiles of the CEO’s who lead the 100 organisations featured in The Reputation’s Agency annual Ireland RepTrak® study – amongst the largest, most familiar, and most important organisations in Ireland across 17 sectors. We focused on the six months from March to September 2020.
Three key metrics were applied to decide the ranking – popularity, engagement & activity:
- Popularity is based on how many followers the CEO has built up on LinkedIn indicating their potential audience reach on that platform (30% weighting).
- Engagement is based on the absolute engagement the CEO received from their posts (the total amount of likes/reactions and comments they received from followers this year) (40% weighting) and the quality of engagement they received (the percentage of likes/reactions and comments they received per post) (20% weighting).
- Activity is based on how many posts the CEO published, indicating how active they are on the platform (10% weighting).
The Top 30 CEOs overall:
The importance of strong leadership
Leadership is an important driver of corporate reputation. The annual Ireland RepTrak® report from The Reputations Agency shows us that organisations who are perceived as well-organised, managed effectively, with appealing leaders, and a strong vision for the future have stronger corporate reputations. Some of the world’s most reputable companies have visible and respected leaders, while others have been brought to their knees by leaders who mismanaged communications during a crisis.
What can TRA do to help business leaders maximise their social media?
The release of the findings marks the launch of the agency’s Leaders Reputation Programme, a tailored three-month leadership communications programme, designed to empower and build confidence in business leaders to communicate and advocate for their organisation externally. The programme consists of four building blocks - the role of leadership in reputation management, social media training, preparing for media interviews and a national media profiling programme.
This programme will empower and build confidence in CEO/Senior Management Teams and Senior Business Leaders to communicate and advocate for their organisation externally. It will support the communication of their organisation’s Purpose, Values, and business objectives through impactful communications across multiple communication channels. The new Leaders Reputation Programme will raise the profile of an organisation and leadership team amongst key stakeholders to attract new talent, customers, win support, and ultimately to grow business.
Popularity Top Ten - Most followed CEOs
Tourism Ireland CEO, Niall Gibbons, has built an impressive base of connections and followers and comes out at the top of this poll.
The importance of this network is increasingly relevant to Tourism Ireland which is responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination, delivering world-class marketing programmes in over 20 markets across the world and reaching a global audience of over 600 million each year with a workforce of up to 150 staff.
Without the might of a workforce in the thousands to share and engage with the content published by their organisation’s leader, Niall has gained the support of an influential group of external stakeholders to ensure cut through of his messaging.
Absolute Engagement Top Ten - CEOs with highest overall engagement
This table ranks CEOs on total engagement for their posts. Total engagement means the entirety of likes/reactions and comments they received for the period under review. 90% of the Top 10 CEOs used rich visuals to get their message across – either imagery or video – understanding how to best use relevant and engaging content to connect with their audience.
Quality Engagement Top Ten - CEOs with the highest percentage engagement per post
This table represents the biggest deviation from the other league tables. Edmond Scanlon, CEO of Kerry Group, which employs a workforce of 26,000, receives the highest average engagement per post on his LinkedIn channel. While his postings may be less frequent and his connections or followers base smaller, the highly engaged workforce of Kerry Group get behind the content that he posts. This Top Three garnered the most engagement on posts that specifically recognise their team’s efforts and how proud they are of their performance during Covid-10.
Activity Top Ten - Most Active CEOs
Looking to creating impact, the frequency of posting will enhance any leader’s opportunity to elevate their organisation’s corporate reputation as long as the content is aligned with organisational values and feels relevant and engaging. Activity was calculated by the number of times a CEO posted on their own page.
For more information on the agency’s newly launched Leaders Reputation Programme and to find out how it can help build your organisation’s reputation visit HERE
For further information or comment please contact
Anne Browning, Director, The Reputations Agency