Most CEOs know all too well about the power of branding. Yet, while some corporate execs are major thought leaders on social media, others almost completely ignore their personal brand online.

Steve Tappin of Xinfu and recently created a global ranking of the best CEOs to follow on social media. His research was based on both quantitative and qualitative measures, monitoring the executives’ Klout scores, activity on their blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn, and evaluating a third “value-added content” factor.
The top 10 social media CEOs are as follows:

  1. Richard Branson (Virgin Group)
  2. Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn)
  3. Anand Mahindra (Mahindra & Mahindra)
  4. Eric Schmidt (Google)
  5. Marissa Mayer (Yahoo)
  6. Marc Benioff (Salesforce)
  7. Kai-Fu Lee (Innovation Works)
  8. Rupert Murdoch (21st Century Fox)
  9. Elon Musk (Tesla Motors)
  10. Jeff Immelt (GE)

According to the report, those leading the pack demonstrate originality and have a positive impact on the industry and corporate world beyond their own companies. CEOs who contribute to the leadership agenda were favored in the rankings, but their scores took a hit if posts were overly self-promotional.

This is an important lesson for all corporate social media strategies. Rather than simply pushing a product or service, a company can win followers much more effectively by becoming an expert resource and providing interesting content that relates to their target audience.

What do you think about the CEO social media rankings? What corporate leaders do you follow and why?